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Young offenders must not be treated like adults

When young people are arrested, the results of that arrest can define the rest of their lives. They may not even grasp the gravity of the situation at the time, but anything they say and do can have a long-term impact on their future.

For this reason, the courts have determined that the authorities cannot just treat children as “miniature adults.” Children lack experience in legal proceedings. They may be immature and have no real grasp of what is happening. They may not fully understand what an arrest or conviction means for their future. In many cases, the protections that children have while being interrogated and speaking with the police are greater than those given to adults. 

How do children view the police? 

One important thing to consider is how children view police in general. They tend to see the police as authority figures. This can lead to inaccurate assumptions on their part that they can confide in the police, must answer questions when asked or rely on them to always tell the truth — none of which is wise when under arrest.

For instance, a child may have learned growing up that teachers and others in authority will not lie to them. But what if the police lie during the interrogation? Would a child be more likely than an adult to accept it as truth? Is it really fair to use this type of psychological trick to confuse children or push them into critical legal mistakes?

Looking into your legal options

If your child has been arrested, you’re likely thinking about all of this constantly. It’s very important to know what legal options you and your child have. Working with an experienced attorney is wise.