Can the Police Question My Child Without My Consent or Presence?
As a parent, your instinct is to protect your child at all times. When he or she is arrested or being held in custody, it can be natural for you to want to be with him or her and even feel it is your right to be present during any interactions your child has with law enforcement. The truth is this: although officers are required to make a reasonable attempt to locate a parent or legal guardian of a child in custody after the child is arrested, the parent or legal guardian does not have to be present when the child is being questioned. In fact, the child’s parent or guardian does not even have to provide consent for the child to be questioned, nor does a juvenile defense lawyer have to be present during a child’s questioning.
Custody, Questioning, and Release of Juveniles
The only circumstance under which a lawyer must be present during a juvenile’s questioning is when the juvenile is 13 or younger and he or she is in custody for an alleged sexual assault or homicide.
A juvenile’s age determines how long he or she can be kept in custody after an arrest. For a child 12 or younger, the limit is six hours. For minors between 12 and 16, the limit is 12 hours during the investigation of a non-violent offense and 24 hours during a violent crime investigation.
When a minor is charged with a crime, he or she is released to his or her parents or sent to a secure facility until his or her court date, depending on the nature of the case.
Talk to Your Child About His or Her Constitutional Rights
Just like discussions about finances and sex, discussions between parents and children about their constitutional rights and how to behave during interactions with law enforcement can be uncomfortable. But like every other uncomfortable topic, these are discussions that need to happen. Keeping your child ignorant of his or her constitutional rights will not prevent him or her from being arrested; it will only hurt your child if he or she is arrested and questioned.
When a minor is in custody, he or she has many of the same rights as adults in custody. This includes the right to legal counsel and the right to avoid self-incrimination. If you and your child cannot afford legal counsel, he or she has the right to be represented by a state-appointed lawyer. If your child is held in custody, the officers must inform him or her of his or her Miranda Rights.
Work with an Experienced Geneva Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If your child is facing a criminal charge, start working with an experienced Naperville juvenile defense lawyer as soon as possible to develop an effective defense strategy for his or her case. Contact our team at Donahue & Sowa today to schedule your initial consultation in our office, during which we can go over your child’s rights as well as yours as a parent in this situation.