Legal Question in Criminal Law in Massachusetts

my daughter is 14 and had sex with a 17 year old she thought she was pregnant but isn't and now dcf wants her to have a s.a.i.n interview but we don't want to press charges they were both guilty and she just wants to move on with her life. can they make us press charges or do a sain interview?

Asked on 5/24/13, 3:45 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Victoria Nadel Victoria L. Nadel, Esq.,

Anyone can refuse to speak with law enforcement for any reason. And no one can be compelled to self-incriminate. Technically a 14 year old is a victim, though, and legally incapable of consent to sexual acts so she is not "guilty" under the law (even if she states everything was consensual). She cannot assert a "5th Amendment" privilege to protect anyone but herself, but she does not appear to be in reasonable fear of prosecution since she could not be prosecuted.

Still, it would be difficult - if not impossible - to compel anyone to speak with a service provider or a member of law enforcement for any reason. She could just refuse to meet with people and refuse all phone calls.

Please understand that even if your daughter does not have a SAIN interview and just because your daughter or the family does not participate in a prosecution does not mean the state cannot bring charges. It can (but it may not be able to meet its burden of proof without her testimony...I have no idea what the evidence is or why they would care).

For your peace of mind, please contact a trial attorney local to you (even calling the local public defender's office - in Massachusetts it would be listed under Committee for Public Counsel Services) to get more specific advice. If your daughter is called to testify under subpoena, she would be legally obliged to do so as that is a court order. But, barring that, she is allowed, as is everyone in this country, to decline to speak with law enforcement.

Good luck.

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Answered on 5/25/13, 5:05 pm

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