How Far Do you Go To Cooperate With the Police

This topic is really related to juveniles and their parents, but it can be correlated to adults cooperating with police as well. I have seen juveniles end up in serious trouble, more than necessary, because their parents allowed too much police cooperation. The scenario involvesa juvenile and the police. The police arrive to the parents’ doorstep and ask if they can have a word with the juvenile in the police car, or in a private place. Often times, the parent says yes when they should be saying no. Usually the parents’ intentions are to teach their children to accept responsibility but when it comes to speaking with the police, it can be against their best interests.

In Michigan and probably most states, the police are not allowed to speak to a juvenile without parental consent. Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this law can be thrown out of court. In the cases that I have defended, the police usually did not have a case against the juvenile client until they spoke to the juvenile and/or his parents. If they did have a case, then speaking with the juvenile or the parents generally strengthened the state’s case against the juvenile. Parents and juveniles need to know that they do not need to help the police with their investigation. The state has the obligation to prove its case against the juvenile while the juvenile has the obligation to do nothing including offering assistance and especially including offering a confession. A confession is usually what is obtained in that private conversation and when the parent consents to the conversation, there is no way to get it thrown out.

If an officer ever comes to your door or calls you on the phone and asks for your assistance, cooperation, or to speak with one of your children, politely respond that you are uncomfortable allowing that to happen and therefore would not go forward with that at the time. If you are still pressured, advise that you will allow the officer to speak with you and your child with your attorney present. Many times, such a threat is enough to keep the officers at bay and in any event will indicate to the officers that you know your rights and will fight for them.

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