Question of a Minor by Police

Police Questioning of Minors in Somerset County

A very wise man once said that “no one ever caught a fish whose mouth was not open.” The importance of that saying directly applies to speaking with police officers and waiving Miranda rights. It is much easier to convict someone who confesses to a crime than someone who never spoke or offered insight into the criminal event. Often times people want to speak to police to find out what evidence the police have against them or to try and spin a different story.  The problem with that occurs when inconsistencies develop, or when the police allow a person to speak, only to confront them with apiece of contradictory evidence that directly negates much or all of what has been said. When that occurs, anyone accused of a crime looks like they are either being dishonest or looks like they may be guilty. For that reason, the best course of action when police ask you to speak to them is to assert your right to remain silent and consult with an experienced juvenile defense attorney before speaking with police. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall defend children charged with offenses throughout Somerset and Hunterdon County, including in Bound Brook, North Plainfield, Hillsborough, Flemington and Somerville.

Questioning a Juvenile in Franklin Township

When a juvenile has been accused of committing an act of juvenile delinquency, he is afforded certain rights and protections.  For a juvenile, it goes beyond the Standard Miranda warnings. A person of any age must be given Miranda Warnings when they are subject to a custodial interrogation and are being questioned.

Miranda Warnings consist of,

  1. having the right to remain silent;
  2. being made aware that anything that you say can and will be used against you in court;
  3. the right to consult with an attorney;
  4. and when unable to afford an attorney, that one will be appointed for you.

Further, Miranda warnings, when waived, must be done so freely and voluntarily. For a juvenile, there exists additional protections which include the right to have a parent or guardian present, especially when the interrogation occurs in an inherently coercive environment like a police department. A juvenile can be interrogated when they refuse to divulge their name or address, parents or guardians cannot be located after good faith attempts to do so, or when the parent or guardian refuses to attend.

Defending a Juvenile who has Given a Statement in Bridgewater New Jersey

Once a statement is given, it often locks a juvenile charged with an offense into a particular defense or factual scenario. For that reason, it is very important to consult with a well versed juvenile defense attorney or criminal defense attorney. When an incriminating statement is taken, trying to suppress that statement for a violation of their Miranda rights becomes a very high priority. It could mean the difference between a dismissal of the charges and a lengthy stint at the New Jersey Training School For Boys, commonly known as the a Jamesburg Juvenile Facility.  There are several ways to attack a statement taken, first calling into question whether the statement was indeed given voluntarily, meaning no undue pressures or threats. If voluntarily given, the query turns to whether there was a knowing waiver of the Miranda rights. Given the impressionable nature of juveniles, police must go to extra lengths to ensure when juveniles waive their rights, they know what they are waiving and that they do not have to do so. If the statement was given voluntarily and a knowing waiver of their Miranda rights is executed, the final leg of the inquiry turns to how the police acted in attempting to secure a parent or guardian to help comfort and guide the juvenile during any statement.

For all of the reason previously set forth, it is of utmost importance that you seek the services of a skilled juvenile lawyer if your family member or friend is the potential target of a criminal offense.  Whether the charge is being pursued by the police in Warren, Readington, Manville, Bridgewater, Bernards Township or another department in the region, you cannot risk exposing your child to interrogation without the protection that can be afforded by attorneys who are knowledgeable in defending juvenile charges. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall routinely handle matters where juveniles are charged. Call our Somerset County Office for a free initial consultation at (908) 722-1011.