Police have the authority to interview minors without informing their parents. Minors, like adults, must be aware of their rights in order to exercise them. However, if there is reason to believe that the child is in danger, then officers must take steps to protect him or her by contacting someone from the child's family or even taking him or her into custody.
Officers need not get a warrant to interview a juvenile in the presence of an adult who has legal custody of the child or is otherwise responsible for his or her care. If one parent is unavailable or unable to provide consent, then the other parent or guardian may give written permission for the officer to conduct the interview.
The decision to allow an officer to interview your child without first getting your approval should be made carefully and with good reason. If you have concerns about how your child is doing or whether he or she is being treated properly by law enforcement, then it is best to speak up. Officers can't report back to your child that they talked with them without your knowledge or permission; therefore, if your child feels uncomfortable about the interview or doesn't feel safe telling you what happened during it, he or she won't say anything.
However, unless accompanied by a parent, the youngster has the legal right to decline to answer any questions posed by the police. A kid who has not been arrested may ask the officer if she is free to go. If so, the child should be allowed to leave without answering any more questions.
It is important for children to know that they can speak with an attorney before they decide to talk with police officers. However, unless their parents are present, young people are expected to follow through with any request made by an officer during a traffic stop or other incident that requires them to speak with someone about what happened.
Children have the right to an attorney during police interrogations. However, like adults, kids can choose to speak with police officers without a lawyer present. They just need to understand that anything they say can and will be used against them in court.
Kids have natural tendencies toward honesty and truthfulness. Therefore, it isn't common for them to lie about something as serious as sexual abuse. If your child does admit to something she should not have done, she needs to tell you immediately so that you can take care of business first hand. You cannot talk yourself out of trouble by saying that your child will explain everything later. In addition, it is important for kids to know that there are services available to them if they have been through something like this before.
In California, may police interrogate a juvenile who is not accompanied by his or her parents? "Yes," is the quick response. A police officer may interview your child without your knowledge. When being questioned by the police, your child does not have a fundamental right to be accompanied by a parent...
The short answer is yes, police officers can question children of any age about crimes that have been committed, including offenses that are only misdemeanors. Police officers need to have reasonable suspicion that your child has engaged in criminal activity before they can question him or her.
What if my child says he or she was with me at the time of the crime? Can't they tell I would say that?
Yes, they can assume you would claim responsibility for your child's actions. Even if you had nothing to do with your child committing a crime, it doesn't mean that you cannot be held responsible because you let your child out of your sight for even a moment. If police believe that allowing your child to be with someone else constituted a form of consent, then you could be charged with an offense.
Sometimes people will go to great lengths to avoid having their child arrested. For example, let's say your child has been accused of breaking into a neighbor's house.
When being questioned by the police, your youngster does not have a constitutional right to be accompanied by a parent. However, if she is taken into custody, a judge will issue a warrant allowing the police to take her before a magistrate for a hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether there is enough evidence against your child to hold him or her over to the court. If the prosecutor cannot prove its case at this hearing, the child will be released.
Police officers need to ask questions to determine what happened and who might be responsible. They can do this by interviewing witnesses and studying crime scene photos. Sometimes officers need to know about things that didn't happen in order to make an informed decision about next steps. For example, if there are no signs of forced entry into a home, then questioning everyone on the street about how they got inside would be pointless.
Children can provide information about crimes that only they would know. For example, if your child saw someone in the neighborhood that he or she doesn't like, then this person could use this information to threaten or harm the child if he or she did not keep quiet. Police officers are required by law to protect your child's privacy, so they will only ask questions necessary to investigate the crime.