Should I allow my 14 year old son to be interviewed by a detective when he is being accused of a crime?

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Should I allow my 14 year old son to be interviewed by a detective when he is being accused of a crime?

My son is being accused of sexual assault but the only evidence that they have arethe statements of a 10 year-old boy and a 16 year-old boy, both brothers, who used to be my son’s best friends. The family waited a whole month before they reported this to me. Supposedly the incident occurred on a Friday night and my son wasn’t brought home from their house until Sunday night. I can’t afford an attorney. I need to know how to protect my son from this because I know all well and good; that my son did not do what he is being accused of. My son says that he didn’t do it and he never lies. Should we get a criminal law attorney first? In Will County, IL.

Asked on January 28, 2011 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under no circumstances should you allow your son speak with the police without an attorney present.  He is under no obligation to go in and answer their questions.  However innocent that he may be, he could easily and unknowingly say something to incriminate himself regarding the alleged crime.  Even if the police come to your home to question your son, you do not need to let him speak with them.  Be aware that questioning your son without having legal representation is to their benefit.  They can, and do, try and get people to implicate themselves.  So no matter how friendly and supportive they may appear ("There is just some information that we need to clear up this whole misunderstanding"), or conversely, no matter how intimidating they are ("It would be in his best interests to have him speak with us") do not do so without a lawyer.  

At this point you should consult with a criminal defense attorney since this matter does not appear to be going away.  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. 


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