Can a police officer interrogate a minor and search the home without the parent's presence? 29 Answers as of June 03, 2013

Cops were called to a residence on suspected child neglect. The minor allowed the cop in the house and allowed the cop to ask them questions. The parent was not there. It is unclear whether the babysitter was in the house when cops arrived.

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Police can talk to a minor (or anyone for that matter) as long as the conversation is voluntary. The parents do not need to be present. The police could only search the house with valid consent of a person of authority. I don't think your son or baysitter would have that kind of authority so any kind of search would be invalid. It wouldn't really matter however unless they found something incriminating. If you believe you have been wronged or they have broken policy you can file a complaint with the police department.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/20/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
It would depend to some extent on the age of the minor (5 years old or 16 years old?), but generally, yes they can, especially in cases of suspected child neglect.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/20/2011
The Chastaine Law Office
The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
Yes a minor can be questioned without a parent present especially in an allegation of child neglect.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/19/2011
Law Office of Richard Southard
Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
In short, the answer depends on how old the minor is. Be mindful that 16 year-olds are treated as adults under New York law for criminal cases.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/19/2011
Law Office of Edward J. Blum
Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
Depends on the reason for the search. Yes, they can interrogate a child without a parent present.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/19/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You need to get the question of who let whom into the house clear. Then, if charges or attempts to take the child out of the home have been instituted, hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    This is actually a very fact specific question. Under some circumstances the police would be covered under an exception to the requirement to first have a search warrant. You should consult an attorney with more specific facts to determine if the police acted properly.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    In WA the law allows law enforcement to question a minor without a parent being present. A minor cannot consent to a search. Usually a search warrant is required before a residence can be searched. A babysitter, however, might be able to consent to search.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need further information, but police can investigate a complaint and depending on the age of the minor and the extent of the questionng they usually can question to a certain extent.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Any resident of a home can consent to a search of common areas and his or her bedroom. The parents' room would likely be off limits if the door were closed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Yes they can.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Unfortunately the United States Supreme Court has said yes despite the obvious unfairness of such a situation and in Ca only federal law is followed in that regard.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The police could question the minor in a general sense but usually wait for parent approval. As to whether they can enter the home without a warrant, it would depend on all the facts and from what is given a determination cannot be made.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, law enforcement may question a minor without the knowledge or presence of the parents when investigating a crime. Second, as a general rule, law enforcement may not make a search without a valid warrant supported by probable cause. There are, however, numerous warrant exceptions including cases where contraband is in plain sight, where the search is related to officer safety, or where exigent circumstances exist supported by additional probable case. Warrantless searches may often be challenged and, if successful, any evidence adduced from the search may be suppressed at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The police can enter premises upon consent and question anyone they want. If the minor resides at they premises and consents to the search and makes statements then they are unmissable in court .
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Law enforcement frequently question minors without a parent or an attorney a practice most attorneys do not agree with.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Any search usually needs a warrant barring unusual circumstances. If the minor was not under arrest and agreed to the search and the questioning, then it is probably a valid procedure. If the minor was not told he or she could have a parent or attorney present, then the questioning and the search could be suppressed.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If the police had reasonable belief that there was a child in the house being neglected or abused, they certainly have a right to investigate the issue, enter the premises and ask the potential victim if he has been neglected. Usually, a worked from DCFS will come out to conduct a thorough investigation and determine if the child should be placed with another party.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    That sounds perfectly legal. They should have notified the parents. Although, they could question you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    No, the cops cannot do that. But you are going to need a lawyer to present the law to the DA and Judge.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    The issue is whether they can respond to a situation and ask questions to see if the children are OK. The answer is yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    It depends on the age of the minor but there may be exceptional circumstances if child neglect was suspected.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    No. A police officer cannot interview a minor (under 16 years of age) if he is a suspect in a crime without the parents present. The police may enter the residence if they have exigent circumstances (ex. Someone is in danger). The police can also enter a residence if they believe a crime is being committed.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    The cop could interrogate / interview the children. Even if a parent is home and won't allow it, the cops can go to the school to conduct and interview and the parent does not have to be notified. As far as the search of the premises, if the child was there alone then the child had apparent authority to allow a search upon request.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
    Yes, since minor consented.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The police were correct in asking to enter the property when they do not have a warrant to do so. A minor is not legally able to give permission for the police to enter without a warrant. However, in a case where a child’s welfare is in question the police may enter on concern for the safety of the minor. The police are allowed to question minors without a parent or attorney present if they are not interrogating the minor for alleged involvement in a crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    The general answer is no, but more facts are necessary. Was the minor seen committing a crime and was the sitter actually present, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/17/2011
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