As a parent, you want your child to be safe and secure in their rights. Many parents wonder: Are the police allowed to question my child when I am not present? The answer is yes – with limits. Just as is true for adults, the police can approach any child to question them about their potential involvement in a crime, but the child cannot be forced to answer.
The child can refuse to answer any questions and not only request a lawyer, they can request that their parents are present. The parent or lawyer can then refuse to allow the child to answer any questions for the police. While the police are not required to get parental consent before approaching a child, they are required to stop the questioning if the child asks for an attorney or a parent. Talk to your kids and ensure they know of this right and that they should use it if they are ever under suspicion of committing a juvenile crime.
Can the Police Use My Child’s Comments Against Them?
If your child agrees to talk to the police, has not been arrested, and is free to leave at any time, then what they say to the police can be used against them. This is because the statements are considered voluntary – not coerced. However, if the answers are not given freely, such as a situation in which the police do not allow the child to leave until they answer the questions, then the answers cannot be used against the child.
Do Miranda Rights Apply to My Child?
Yes. However, Miranda rights only apply when a person is under arrested, detained, or otherwise taken into custody. If the police taken actions that would make a person believe they are in custody and cannot freely leave, then any questions are considered protected by Miranda rights and the child must be given a Miranda warning. If they are not given the warning, then nothing they say should be admissible. If they are given the warning and voluntarily talk to the police, then whatever they say can be used against them.
What Do I Do if the Police Have Improperly Questioned My Child?
If your child is arrested or detained by the police and refuse to call you or an attorney after your child has asked for one, there can be consequences beyond your child’s statements not being admissible. You can file a complaint with your police department or local government. If your child was deprived of food, water, or rest, or was otherwise physically abused, there may be grounds for a lawsuit because your child’s civil rights were violated.
Even if your child is innocent, if the police consider them a suspect for a crime, they should have an attorney present during questioning. Contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell now at (949) 585-9055 to request a free legal consultation.