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Can Police Question My Child About His Involvement in a Sex Crime?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jul 15, 2020

Police can 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 teenagers 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. It boils down to 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 ask them questions that could incriminate them. However, I often see the police softening up juveniles in these juvenile cases, 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 that 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 be used against them 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 would let them use it if they were not in custody at the time because the Miranda rights weren't triggered. If they were in charge 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 will face less severe sentences than adults. In a juvenile setting in Los Angeles, California, a person can only be held until 25 years old. Of course, it depends on the type of crime a particular person commits.

They could be looking at probation, where they could stay with their parents. They could be looking at suitable placement away from their home in some facility or with a different family. They could also get what is called a camp.

There is a short-term and a long-term camp where they are taken out of their home and put into a base with other juveniles. They are given educational help. These are brutal, rigorous camps designed to whip a young person into shape.

The most severe sentence a juvenile can be given is the Department of Juvenile Justice, a 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 exact requirement to register. Your child will have to check into it in that other state.

Whether they will be allowed to go to another state for college depends on how severe the criminal activity is. If it is a brutal sex crime and they are put on probation, they will probably not go to college.

They are going to have to do their camp time. If the crime is a less severe misdemeanor, there is a good chance that I, as the juvenile defense attorney, will 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 18, they will send that case into adult court. If the case is placed in the juvenile court and 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 can do their report and argue 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 depends on the circumstances of the case.

Hedding Law Firm is a Los Angeles sex crime defense lawyer located at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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