Can police question a minor child without a parent present? 30 Answers as of June 26, 2013

An altercation between my 7 year old and a 10 year old police came to my house and questioned my seven year old while babysitter was home. Was this legal and what could happen?

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Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
Nope. They cannot question without the consent of a parent or guardian. Practically speaking, this only means that any incriminating statements he made can be thrown out in a "Motion to Suppress Statements".
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/17/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Your child has constitutional rights too. Yes, the police have some discretion to ask questions; however, the key issue is why the police would be there. The first issue is whether your child is considered a possible suspect or witness to some criminal activity. I'd recommend retaining an attorney to assist them with that matter.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/17/2011
Law Office of Andrew Subin
Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
I dont know of any statute requiring parents to be present when police question kids.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
There is no prohibition for the police to question persons under the age of majority and they often times do so without the parents knowing about it.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Nixon Ayemi | Nixon Ayeni
How old was the babysitter? There has to be an adult present if there is going to be a delinquent charge.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle
    Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle | Sara Sencer McArdle
    A parent and a lawyer should be present when a child is questioned. However, a babysitter may be construed to stand in loco parentis. You can call me for further information.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/15/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The police can interview any witness or suspect they choose to. Your attorney may be able to suppress their testimony at trial, but the interview is allowed.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/15/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    No, there should have been a parent or a responsible adult present.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/15/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Yes, person (babysitter) was current guardian for the child and allowed the contact.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need further information such as how old is the babysitter and did she consent to the police questioning her and what was the extent of the questioning etc.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    In most cases yes. Prior law prohibited admission of such statements. Currently, it appears that such statements can be admissible. The question arises about the coercive nature of the questioning. This may be grounds for escluding statements. You should have your attorney review the specific facts to see what is possible I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of John E. Gutbezahl LLC
    Law Office of John E. Gutbezahl LLC | John E Gutbezahl
    Generally the police may question a juvenile even without parental presence or consent. I would need additional information regarding the circumstances before being able to answer the second part of your question.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Under most circumstances, an officer would wait to speak to the child until the parent was present, however, sometimes depending upon the urgency of the situation, the officer may need to speak to the child without the parent being present. If the child is a suspect in a criminal case, and the officer wants to interrogate him, they would wait until a parent was present to advise his rights and question him. If only a witness to an incident, they do not need to wait.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Christopher Lee
    A police officer can question anyone at any time without any probable cause. The only way to stop a police officer from questioning you is to walk away and politely say "I don't want to talk to you" (assuming the person is not under arrest or properly detained). Unfortunately, minors do not have the capacity, either due to fear or intimation, to actually decline to speak with a police officer. In that case, a parent can object on behalf of their child. There is no law barring a police officer from speaking to the child outside the presence of the parent. However, a police officer should refrain from speaking to a child if that officer has some actual or constructive knowledge or notice that the parent is objecting. You can always seek to suppress the statements of your child based on lack of capacity to understand their right to remain silently or that the police officer did not advise the child of his rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Before police can interrogate an individual who is in custody, the must advise the person of their Miranda Rights. If the individual is a juvenile under the age of 12, they must first obtain parental consent for the waiver of those rights. Failure to do so may render any statement made by the juvenile inadmissible in court. If the questioning is not custodial however, no consent is required.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Yes, the police do not need the consent of a parent to question child in California or under the Federal Constitution.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Boske Law Offices
    Boske Law Offices | Michael A Boske
    Unfortunately, they can and often do interview children without their parents permission or knowledge. Often times they will go to the child's school and pull the child from class.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The police should have waited until a parent was present. Their actions may be grounds to supress any statements he made if the matter were to proceed to court.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    No that should not have happened.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    Police should not question a minor without a parent present.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    The law is not completely set, but if the babysitter told the police officer it was okay to question your child, it may have been permissible. If your ten year old faces a charge in court, you need to make sure your child's attorney is aware of the facts of what happened; there may be a defense based on a parent not having been present.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    This isn't a question I've encountered before, but I would say it's legal. If police are called to a location in regard to a disturbance they are going to question anyone involved. The babysitter was in charge - they are not obligated to wait for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Again I need more facts to give you the answer that is fully correct. The police can only question a child about a criminal matter that they may be involved if one parent or one guardian or a child avocet is present. If this goes to a case in juvenile court then the information about your childs involvement can be suppressed by his attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Yes. Unfortunately in Washington minors may be questioned without a parent present.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Yes, police do it all the time.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Can they? Sure, they did, whether they should have or not. Now you get to deal with any criminal charges that they may have been investigating. If serious about getting counsel to help if and when that happens, contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes, if you were foolish enough to have permitted it. The right to remain silent should NEVER be waived by a parent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    A complete answer would require a confidential conversation about the facts of the case, but on these facts you have described there is certainly a possibility that the cops' actions were unconstitutional. An experienced criminal defense attorney will discuss the situation with you more thoroughly and in confidence, and may be able to use the facts to your advantage.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/11/2011
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