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  • December 30, 2017

Your Child’s Miranda Rights and California Senate Bill 395

Experienced California Criminal Defense Attorney Michael A. Scafiddi Discusses Your Child’s Miranda Rights

A new law in California may dramatically affect how police officers can treat your child. Most of know that officers must read us our Miranda rights, “you have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney, etc.…” prior to taking our statement if we are detained for a crime. However, if your child is arrested at school with no parent or adult help, do Miranda warnings adequately protect their right to not incriminate themselves? Often times, Miranda warnings do not hold any real meaning for children. As a result, many children give statements to police because they respect officers and believe that the officers are there to help them. Unfortunately, officers are well aware of this tendency and can take advantage of children’s innocence to get answers to their questions; and too often, those answers will implicate your child in a crime.

If you or your child is arrested, waste no time.  Call an experienced California criminal defense attorney immediately if your child is taken into police custody.  Attorney Scafiddi has experience defending Californians from all types of criminal charges.

What Are Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights are meant to protect the constitutional rights provided to all Americans. Pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, before the government—police— can ask a detainee questions regarding an alleged crime, the government must first warn the accused that any statements given to the government may be used against them in a court of law, that they do not have to answer the questions, and that they can speak to an attorney before providing any statement.

Even with warnings, adults will often times still speak to police when they should not. Many adults think that being cooperative with the police or trying to “talk their way out of the problem” will result in charges being dropped.  This strategy inevitably fails.

This problem is compounded with children, who have an admirable tendency to try to help the authorities and may not understand either their rights or the severity of the situation they are facing. Study after study suggests that children are not adequately protected by a simple Miranda warning. As a result, California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a law that provides help to children—minors under 15 years old—who the police are seeking to interrogate.

How Does SB 395 Affect Your Child?

Under California law, law enforcement can take your son or daughter into custody so long as they have reasonable cause to believe he or she has committed a crime.  When the police take your son or daughter into custody, they must provide them with their Miranda warnings.  However, as was stated above, children, and very young children in particular, have little to no understanding of what Miranda warnings really mean.

This is why SB 395 is so important. It now requires law enforcement to provide your child access to an attorney either by phone or video before they can waive their Miranda rights. This is an important change, as an attorney will rarely—if ever—advise any client to waive those rights. If law enforcement fail to comply with this law, your child’s statements may be deemed inadmissible in court.

Free California Criminal Defense Case Analysis

If you or a family member has been accused of a crime, contact experienced California criminal defense attorney Michael A. Scafiddi immediately.  You have rights.  Your child has rights. Do not let your child’s lack of understanding result in a criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their lives.  Call Attorney Scafiddi at 1-909-381-1000 now to protect your child’s rights.