What Should a Parent Do at the Police Station?

Tip 3: When you get the call from police indicating that your child has been arrested and is at the police station, you need to tell someone else in your family where you are going and go to the police station. When you get there you should be polite. You don't have any right to demand that you be able to see your son or daughter. Your child is in the hands of the police and you must accept that the police are taking good care of them.

 

It doesn't help the situation if you get arrested too. Don't fight with the police or harrass them. That could be very dangerous for you. You don't want to get charged with assault on a police officer, obstructing a police officer, or causing a disturbance.

 

You need to act in a professional manner. You need to be an objective witness to what is happening. You may want to take notes. You may want to use a cell phone to keep other family members aware of what is happening while you wait for police to process your child. Document the times of every event that happens.

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Don't be afraid to telephone a lawyer before you go or while you wait. You may be waiting a long time.

 

A parent does not have rights under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. You have no right to demand that your child speaks to a lawyer before they confess to a crime that they committed or did not commit. You cannot demand that your child consult with you first. The police are in control.

 

Your child has important rights, however. If you have trained your child well, he or she has grown up knowing that if the police offer an opportunity for the child to consult with a parent, the child will always say "yes", knowing that the parent will be a good source of support. If you have trained your child well, he or she has grown up knowing that if the police offer an opportunity for the child to have the parent present during questioning, the child will always say "yes", knowing that the parent will be a good source of support and basic advice during questioning. If you have trained your child well, he or she has grown up knowing that if the police offer an opportunity for the child to consult a lawyer before or during questioning, the child will always say "yes", knowing that the parent will assist in finding a lawyer on the phone. If you have trained your child well, he or she has grown up knowing that if the police offer an opportunity for the child to consult 24 hour duty counsel (a free lawyer available by phone through the Ontario Legal Aid Plan) before or during questioning, the child will always say "yes", knowing that the parent will assist in asking the police to get 24 hour duty counsel on the phone.

 

Please make sure that the child has a sense that you are there to help the child, not to be an assistant interrogator. Too many children, juveniles,  and young persons "waive", or in other words,  give up their rights to the presence of an adult parent or lawyer, because they are afraid that the adult will be tougher on the young person than the nice police officer who is suggesting they should get this "off their chest".

 

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