There are a million things that you want to teach your children. You want to make sure that they are prepared for difficult situations, and that they handle them as best as they can. Unfortunately, you can’t always be there with your child or anticipate some of the problems that they might face throughout their lives. Especially as your children get older and become teenagers, they have more freedom and you have less of a chance to supervise them.
Many parents don’t even think of teaching their children how to interact with the police if they are stopped. You might assume that your child won’t need to know what to do, because this won’t happen. Unfortunately, many teens are stopped by police officers, especially while driving. If possible, talk to your kids about how to handle this situation before they find themselves in it.
Interacting with the Police
Whether your child did something wrong or not, they might have an encounter with the police at some point. This might be for a simple driving violation, such as speeding or failure to signal when turning. Or, it could be a more serious issue such as alcohol or drug possession.
Talk to your kids about what they should do if they are ever stopped by the police. Your child should know to be kind and respectful to the police and do whatever the police asks. Remind them to speak politely and avoid letting the situation escalate into a screaming altercation or even a physical problem. Tensions might run high if your child feels that they didn’t do anything wrong, but at this point it is important that they remain calm and compliant.
However, being compliant does not mean providing information that will incriminate them. One very important thing that your child should know is that they can and should invoke their right to remain silent, whether they are pulled over, on the side of the street, in school, or at the police station. Your child should not offer up information to the police, even if they make it seem like your child must speak to them. Your child does not have to speak and should not say anything until you and a lawyer are notified.
At the Police Station
If your child is taken into custody and brought to the police station, you as the parent must be notified. Failure to do this is a violation of your rights as a parent and your child’s rights. Make sure your child knows this and tell them not to do anything until you have been notified.
The police might take a child into an interrogation room and make it seem like they need to talk, but this is not true. Your child should wait for you and an attorney.
While much of this information might seem basic, it is important to go over it with your child. Communicate with them about what they should do if they are ever stopped by law enforcement. It will give you peace of mind to know that they know what to do. It can also prevent your child from getting into an altercation with the police.
If your child has already had an interaction with the police and face charges for an offense, please contact me. I can help protect your child’s rights from here on.