Lawyers specialising in defending cases involving children and young people
Olliers Solicitors has extensive experience of representing young people who find themselves involved with the Criminal Justice System for the first time whether that be at the police station or appearing before the Youth Court. It can be extremely daunting for someone has never had any involvement with the police before as well as for their parents who may have had no prior experience of being arrested or appearing in court and may fear the worst. At Olliers we are able to give realistic advise about likely outcomes and what we can do to secure the best outcome for your child.
Can a parent attend a police interview with their child?
If a young person is being interviewed by the police then the law states they must have another person present during the interview known as an ‘appropriate adult’. Their role is to facilitate communication and ensure the welfare of the young person being interviewed.
In practice this is usually a parent or family member although it can sometimes be a volunteer from an appropriate adult scheme. If the suggested appropriate adult is involved with the case as a potential witness or victim then it would not be prudent for them to be present during the interview.
Should I see a solicitor before my child is interviewed?
Legal aid funding will not cover a conference between a solicitor and your child before any police station interview however we will be more than happy to arrange an appointment prior to interview and we will usually be able to agree a fixed fee for this. As well as advising in relation to the procedure itself we may be able to make contact with the investigating officer prior to the interview and obtain disclosure. Effective and thorough preparation is crucial.
Our specialist youth lawyers can often arrange for a young person to attend a police station on a voluntary basis as opposed to being arrested and interviewed ‘under arrest’.
What will happen after a police interview?
After a young person has been interviewed they may be given a date to come back to the police station for the police to investigate the matter further. There is a significant lacuna in funding between the police interview and any final disposal decision and this may often by the time when a large amount of defence work is required such as taking defence witness statements or securing CCTV before it is destroyed. This is simply not covered under available police station public funding but could be a crucial tool in avoiding prosecution for your child. Click here to read more about the importance of pre-charge work.
Are there alternatives to prosecution for young people?
Yes. Restorative justice is an alternative to prosecution that is particularly suited to young people who have no prior engagement with the criminal justice system. The process is victim led and depends on the wishes of the victim but can often involve a written apology from the young person or compensation for any damage caused Olliers are experienced in identifying cases where restorative justice may be appropriate and suggesting this as an option to investigating officers who may have not considered this course of action. Restorative justice is not a finding of guilty and would not lead to a ‘criminal record’ or a disclosure being made on a DBS Check.
What could be the impact of a prosecution on my child’s future?
A prosecution could have a devastating impact on a young person’s future. A conviction could place your child’s chosen career in jeopardy and will continue to appear on an enhanced DBS Check for a minimum of 6 years. It could also affect travel abroad including to the US, Canada and Australia.
Our specialist youth lawyers will always consider not just a sentence or the short-term consequences of a conviction but also the long-term effect of a conviction.
I’ve never been in trouble with the police myself. How can I help as a parent? What should I do?
The mot important way you can help your child if they have been requested to attend for a interview with the police is to ensure they have a solicitor with them. We can arrange to see you and your child in advance of any interview (subject to their agreement) and advise you in relation to the process.
What is the Youth Court?
If a young person is charged with an offence then they will appear at the Youth Court. The Youth Court will generally always deal with matters involving young people until they turn 18 apart from extremely serious matters. We will advise you as to whether your case will remain in the Youth Court. The Youth Court has a range of sentencing options at its disposal including orders from the Youth Offending Team (YOT) and Detention and Training Orders.