Police can basically question anyone, if they think they have committed a crime. Many parents are under the mistaken assumption that police can't talk to their underage teenager unless they are present. That is not correct.
Police will separate the child from the parents all the time and they will try to get a statement from the child. What it boils down to is whether or not the person being questioned can understand what the police are asking them and whether or not their statement is voluntary.
With the question of whether it was voluntary, we get into the issue of whether or not the police put a lot of pressure on them; whether they threatened them in some way to get them to make the statement.
Juveniles have rights, too. They must be read their Miranda rights, if they're in custody and police are asking them questions that could incriminate them. However, in these juvenile cases, I often see the police softening up juveniles, getting them to make a full statement and confession, and then reading them their Miranda rights.
They then get the confession again, which is illegal. Don't be fooled; in sex crime cases, the police will use whatever means necessary to get those people that they think are involved. That includes getting their parents away from juveniles, so they can ask them questions.
If a child agrees to speak with police regarding a sex crime allegation and has not been arrested, is anything that child says to police able to be used against him or her in court proceedings?
If someone of any age is foolish enough to talk to the police about a sex crime, the police can certainly use those statements against them. The judge is going to let them use it, if they were not in custody at the time, because the Miranda rights weren't triggered. If they were in custody at the time, then Miranda applies to juvenile sex crimes just like it applies to adults.
Are Juveniles Convicted of Sex Crimes in California Face the Same Sentences as Adults?
Juveniles who are charged with any crime in California are going to face less severe sentences than adults. In a juvenile setting in Los Angeles, California, a person can only be held until they are 25 years old. Of course, it depends on the type of crime that a particular person commits.
They could be looking at probation where they would be able to stay with their parents. They could be looking at suitable placement away from their home in some sort of a facility or with a different family. They could also get what is called camp.
There is a short-term and a long-term camp where they are taken out of their home and put into a camp with other juveniles. He or she is given educational help. These are tough, rigorous camps that are designed to whip a young person into shape.
The most severe sentence a juvenile can be given is the Department of Juvenile Justice, which is like prison for minors. It is crucial to get an experienced attorney on the case to avoid this result.
Will My Child Have to Register as a Sex Offender?
If my child is convicted of a sex crime in California and wants to move to another state for college after high school, will that be a problem or will that be allowed? Will he still have to register as a sex offender in another state?
If your child is registered as a sex offender in California, it will be up to the new state to decide whether or not they have the same requirement to register. Your child will have to check into it in that other state.
As far as whether they are going to be allowed to go to another state for college, it depends on how serious the criminal activity is. If it is a serious sex crime and they are put on probation, for example, they are probably not going to be able to go to college.
They are going to have to do their camp time. If the crime is a less serious misdemeanor, there is a good chance that I, as the juvenile defense attorney, am going to be able to convince the judge to allow the person to go off to college in a different state.
The probation department can keep an eye on them and they can come back while they are on break to show that they are doing well. The court may even let their attorney appear for them.
Can My Child Be Tried as an Adult in a Sex Crime Case?
I've heard that my child could be tried as an adult in his sex crime case. What makes that distinction? The seriousness of the sex crime will dictate whether the prosecutors try to prosecute it as a juvenile case versus an adult case.
Sometimes, even though the accused person is under the age of 18, they will send that case into adult court. If the case is placed in the juvenile court and then the prosecutors decide that they want the case moved to the adult court, there will be a fitness hearing.
At the hearing, the judge will confirm whether or not the accused person is fit to be tried as an adult. The defense is able to do their own report and make the argument that the person should not be tried as an adult and that they should remain in the juvenile court.
This could avoid sex offender registration or prison. It really depends on the circumstances of the case.
Hedding Law Firm are Los Angeles sex crime defense lawyers located at at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.