October 10, 2015
Police are not required to contact you or get your permission before they question your child about a crime. In fact, they can begin questioning without your knowledge. Issues could arise about the rights your child might invoke before questioning starts and his or her age at that time.
The Right to a Parent Being Present
A juvenile has the right to have a parent present during police questioning. That right has to be clearly invoked by the child, however. If the child states that they want a parent present before questioning, the questioning cannot start. Similar to the Miranda requirement for questioning while in custody, a juvenile should be given both written Miranda warnings and notification of the right to have a parent present before questioning begins.
Age of the Child
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a police officer must consider a child’s age before giving a Miranda warning. In that case, a 13-year-old boy was questioned by police at school in a closed room regarding a string of burglaries. Two school administrators were also present. The boy denied involvement, but questioning continued. He relented and confessed. It was only then that the police officer told him he could refuse to answer questions and was free to leave. Given that the boy was 13 years old, the Supreme Court recognized his lack of maturity and life experience. Since his perception of being in custody might differ from that of an older juvenile or adult, the trial court should have looked at the totality of the circumstances surrounding his questioning and waiver of Miranda rights.
Facts Police Need to Consider
Given the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision, police officers need to consider these five factors before questioning a juvenile about a crime:
– How parental and Miranda warnings are given
– The age and life experience of the juvenile child
– Whether the parent(s) were contacted
– Where questioning occurred and who was present
– Whether the child signed written waivers
Call the Khonsari Law Group for Legal Representation
We do not want your child’s mistake following them for life. Most juveniles learn from their mistakes. In many cases, we can get charges reduced or dismissed. We can even seek expungement of their juvenile record. Contact the Khonsari Law Group regarding your child’s arrest as soon as you learn of it. Your child deserves a second chance.