What to do if a detective wants to question my 15 year-old regarding peeking into a girl’s window?

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What to do if a detective wants to question my 15 year-old regarding peeking into a girl’s window?

My son admitted to peeking into a 15 year-old girl’s window. The police came and her parents placed a restraining order against him from any contact with this girl and her family. What can we expect from this ordeal? He has never been in any sort of trouble before and the detective in charge of this case wants him to give an official statement of what happened and whatever other questions she may ask. We don’t know if we should obtain a criminal defense lawyer. We have no idea what will come of this and we would like some advice on what our next move should be. What can/should we do at this point?

Asked on January 20, 2011 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

These could lead to a serious charge(s) with life-long consequences.  Under no circumstances should he speak with the police without an attorney present (or speak to anyone further about the incident).  He is are under no obligation to go in and answer their questions. Even if the police come to your home to question him about a pending case, he should do not need to speak with them.  Be aware that questioning him without legal representation is to their benefit; they can try and get him to further implicate himself.  So no matter how low-key and friendly they may appear ("There is just some minor background information that we need"), or conversely, no matter how intimidating they are ("It would be in your best interests to speak with us") he should not not do so without a lawyer.  

At this point, consult with an attorney since this matter.  If money is an issue, check if there is a law school nearby to where you live; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type matters.  You can also contact the local Bar Association in your county; they may have a list of attorneys who will consult with you "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Get your son a criminal defense attorney immediately and do NOT let him speak to any detectives, prosecutors, etc. until he does. It might be the case that the attorney will agree that he should cooperate--but it may also be that he should not. Depending on the exact charge, if any, that might be proferred, if he is convicted (or pleads to) of something related to voyeurism, looking into the girl's window, etc., that might be enough to get him listed as a sex offender--which could have lifelong ramifications. Any criminal charge or possibility of one needs to be taken seriously, but especially any one with a sexual dimension. Get the attorney and let the lawyer advise, guide, and represent you and your son.


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