What to do if my son was brought in for questioning on sexual charges against a minor and he signed a statement without an attorney?

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What to do if my son was brought in for questioning on sexual charges against a minor and he signed a statement without an attorney?

He has never been in trouble before and totally panicked when the detective told him he was looking at 40 years. The detective told him it would be in his best interest to sign a statement that he was guilty. I feel he was scared into in more then anything. Now since we don’t have money for a regular lawyer he will have to go in front of a magistrate and tell him he is guilty before they’ll assign him a public defender. I really don’t want him to plead guilty. He knows now that he made a mistake signing the statement. What is your advice?

Asked on October 16, 2013 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

He should tell the magistrate that he does not want to enter a plea until he has a lawyer, and he should ask to be assigned a public defender. The magistrate will probably then enter a plea of not guilty (this is standard procedure, and your son can always change his plea later). Your son should not tell the magistrate (or anyone else, for that matter, except his public defender) anything about what happened or didn't happen. 


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