Unfortunately, California state law does not require the police to tell a minor that they have a right to have their parents present before answering any questions! 
Therefore, if your minor child is detained or arrested by the police, please tell your child to insist upon having you, the parent, present before answering any questions.
Child's hands in handcuffs
HOW TO HANDLE POLICE STATION TELEPHONE CALLS:  If your minor child calls you from the police station, you must understand that that call is being tape recorded.  Therefore, you should not discuss any of the facts of the case and you should tell your child right there and then not to discuss anything substantive over the phone because you are going to hire an attorney to take over the case because it is the attorney who has the client-attorney privilege whereby the cops cannot record the statements between the minor and the attorney who represents the minor.  
HOW TO HANDLE POLICE STATION QUESTIONING:  If the police decide to leave you in the room at the police station to talk to your minor son or daughter alone, more likely than not that they have left you in that room for a reason.  They know that you are going to speak to your son or daughter about the facts and they will tape record everything.  If the police will not allow you to talk to your minor child outside the station, you and your minor must insist that an attorney be present before your minor child is questioned. 
YOUR MINOR CHILD MUST REQUEST AN ATTORNEY AT ALL PHASES OF INTERROGATION BY LAW ENFORCEMENT:  By you requesting the same for your minor, that will not be enough—your minor child must request that his or her parents be present as well as the attorney.  It is also likely that if you arrive at the police station and your son or daughter is in custody and even if you insist on being present with your minor, you will be stalled by the police.  While you are being stalled, they will be speaking to your child until they have finished questioning them.
That is why it is crucial that you instruct your minor child that they must request their parent or parents to be present before any questioning begins.  The minor should also request that their attorney be present as well. The police will not be permitted to tape record conversations between the attorney and the minor client, that is a given.  They are not even permitted to audiotape attorney and client minor at the police station so keep that in mind.
PARENTS AND ATTORNEY PRESENT:  Besides your minor child insisting that they have you, the parent, present before they start answering any questions, the minor has a right to request an attorney to be present for any questioning by school officials and police alike!  Again, we insist that you tell your son or daughter that they must request an attorney and they must make that request loudly and clearly, but not be disrespectfully. 
The police might not advise the minor of their Miranda rights.  The police can claim the minor was not under arrest and could leave at any time.  In other words, the police will argue that the there was no need to read your son or daughter their Miranda rights because they were not being detained, they were not under arrest, and they could have left at any time.  But we know better, that when a person of authority, especially when they are dressed in a uniform and they speak with authority, most minors will become very compliant and make admissions.  
NO SUCH THING AS “OFF THE RECORD:”  Again, please tell your minor before answering any questions by the police to request that a parent be preset and to request the services of an attorney; following this advice will save a great deal of woe for you later. Please tell your minor child that the officers will try to trick them and basically tell them that the conversation is off the record, but they shouldn’t fall for that. 
Everything is on the record, everything is going to be used against them in a court of law, so they should not make any statements unless you are present or an attorney is present.  Please keep in mind that statements made in violation of your child’s Miranda rights can be used to impeach the minor if they take the stand and testify as to certain facts that are not consistent with their statements made to the police which should not have been taken in the first place as we are emphatically stating herein. 
PROTECT YOUR CHILD’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Please keep in mind that the police will NOT be very happy when your minor child requests a parent or attorney to be present before any questioning begins. But that should not be your concern.  Your concern is the protection of your child’s constitutional rights.  Oftentimes, children are coerced to making false confessions which can do a great deal of harm. 
If possible, the police will want a confession from your minor child as to their involvement in the crime they are investigating, especially if they believe that your child is responsible for this crime.  If it not uncommon for the police to threaten the parent and the minor that if they do not cooperate and provide the statements that they want to hear, they will place the minor in juvenile custody immediately and not release them to their parent pending the filing of charges by the district attorney’s office.  Don’t fall for that. 
When you deal with the police, let them know that you want to be cooperative, but you just want to make sure that you as the parent has had a chance to talk to your minor child in confidence and consult with an attorney of your choice as to whether the child should even make a statement.  It is best that a statement by the minor be made only after consulting with a parent and an attorney who is knowledgeable in how the system works. 
SUSCEPTIBLE MINORS AND FALSE CONFESSIONS ARE A PROBLEM:   Some minors are more susceptible to a police officer’s tactics, threats or intimidation.  WE don’t want YOU to risk your son or daughter making false or misleading incriminating statements because they were lied to, told to “man-up,” held for hours without water, a bathroom break or questioned over and over again even sometimes having their meds withheld. There are many instances in which questionable police tactics produced devastating results for minors who were actually INNOCENT. We will address the topic of false confessions later.
We have been successfully defending juvenile clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.
The 100 Trial Lawyers Association has recognized us as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country!
Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Don’t bargain with your minor child’s freedom or future! 
“The right attorney makes all the difference”– between your freedom and incarceration!
Please CLICK HERE to visit our dedicated page on sex crimes charges for more info.

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