A person is not required to talk to the police. He should politely refuse their request to go to the station. If he is taken into custody, he should refuse to answer any questions unless he has a lawyer present.
It sounds like there may be something more serious going on that your son has not informed you about. If the police had a warrant to arrest him for an unpaid ticket, they would have told him to take care of the ticket or arrested him on the spot.
Police are trained interrogators and can use many tricks to get information out of someone. For instance, they will often tell a person they are not under arrest and can leave at any time, when the really plan to arrest the person as soon as their questions are answered. If they just arrested the person at the beginning, they would have to inform him of his right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during any questioning.
Please understand that this is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website (and you shouldn't provide too much specific information about your legal matter on a public forum like Avvo, anyway). You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information.
I read the general answer from the Calif. attorney. I am licensed in Arizona and am a certified criminal law specialist. It is true that there is no requirement to talk to the police (except in very limited circumstances). If he has not already gone to talk to them, he should either go there or call them because it is likely that they will record the conversation. Also, he should not say anything to anyone else because that call or discussion may also be recorded and he would never know. He should retain an attorney right away and save any discussion at the attorney’s office. Depending on what is really going on, he can act from there.
I would agree that it sounds like there is more going on than the suspicion of a ticket, which is more likely a ruse. It is a common police practice to feign something else to gather information, and based on the information gathered at the “interview”, an arrest is likely. At that point, anything he said will be used against him and it is very hard to change things after that.
I would strongly recommend retaining an attorney sooner rather than later, and before any damage is done. I would also recommend against any further posting on any public forums and definitely do not blog on social websites. Likewise, stay off the phone, email, texting, or faxes. If you do retain an attorney, he will want to bring anything possibly related to the case including documents, computers, etc.
If there is the possibility that something more serious is going on, time may be of the essence.
There is DEFINITELY something going on here a bit more serious than an upaid traffic ticket!
As previous posters have opined, your son should make NO STATEMENTS without an attorney being present. Your son should politely inform the officers that he will NOT be making any statements without his attorney being present, but he has to remain steadfast and firm in preserving this right (to not speak to the police without an attorney present).
If the police have enough evidence to arrest your son - they will - regardless of whether he speaks to them or not. Your son can only make matters worse for himself by confessing or incriminating himself by making statements to the police without an attorney present.
I agree with my colleague, Mr. Poster, your son's best defense may be a good offense. Hiring an Arizona licensed attorney BEFORE your son has any further contact with the police may prove to be advantageous.