Please can someone give me some advice? My daughter has been arrested, she's under 16 and has admitted to the offence. The police have advised she will receive a court summons in the next few weeks. Do I need to get legal advice or a solicitor for her? Will it be expensive? I really don't know what to do. I have never been in trouble with the police before.
When she was arrested was she interviewed? She should have had a solicitor then, as well as an appropriate adult. So she's been charged? I'm not clear on what you've said. Young people I've looked after will have been allocated usually a duty solicitor at time of interview ( even if they have declined, I've insisted)
I'm sorry I'm not clear why someone would be de arrested in order to interview but hopefully someone more qualified to advise will be along soon. I'm surprised that you did not request a solicitor at the time of interview
Criminal solicitor here - what you're describing sounds like a voluntary interview. Are you sure they said they're charging her? Or did they say they are 'reporting her for summons'? The latter means they are continuing their investigations and will basically let you know whether they are going to drop the charges or charge. IF she is charged and goes to the youth court, she can ask for the duty solicitor at court on the day. No need to panic and arrange one before.
My understanding is that a solicitor for a juvenile in trouble with the police is free.
You need to find a criminal law solicitor.
You need to tell them what you've told us; that she had not seen a solicitor before or during questioning, and that the police chose to de-arrest her before questioning. Because if she had been questioned under arrest, she definitely would have to have been offered the duty solicitor, for free.
My understanding of de-arrest is that it usually happens when the police decide that there has been no crime committed ( but may be wrong there). Once they had dearrested, did they point out that she was now there voluntarily, and was free to leave? Did they point out that she was still free to have a solicitor present? Was the questioning recorded? You need to make a note ,now, of exactly what you remember happening, and give it to the solicitor.
Thank you all for your replies. It was a voluntary interview and they said she could leave at anytime. It was recorded, but a solicitor was hardly mentioned. I haven't heard anything for a while, so emailed the officer for an update and she said criminal justice are drawing up a court summons and we should receive it in the next few weeks.
Thank you all again for the replies, they are really helpful.
There will be a duty solicitor at court. Some are great, others not very good. You don't have to use a duty solicitor, you are free to pick one. You could chat with several, until you're happy with one, and check with them that they can represent your daughter without cost to you.
One advantage of doing this is that you will get time to talk to them in advance, and if they give advice, you will have time to discuss this with your DD.
The courtroom steps or waiting room is not a good place to be discussing how to behave in court or how to apologise to the court or the police,(if relevant) with a difficult and distressed teen. Better done in advance.
Would strongly advise you ring a solicitor sooner rather later.
Also, should it be the case that DD has any possible diagnosis- ASD, ADHD, - best brought up asap. Not saying that is the case, just these groups of teens are disproportionately present in Youth Justice.