Can police question my minor child without me being there? 33 Answers as of June 03, 2013

Can police question my minor child without me being there or having my consent to do so? I was called to the school because some girls mom said last week my son was wrestling with her daughter and touched her inappropriately. Before I could get to the school the police had already questioned our son, when we asked the officer if he had questioned our son he replied no. We asked our son and he said he had, then the officer said that he did ask him questions, apparently enough to cite him for 3rd degree sexual assault. Our son is 12 years old.

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The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier
The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier | Seth D. Schraier
As soon as a police officer arrests a child under 16 years of age and takes him into custody he must make every reasonable effort to notify a parents or other person legally responsible for the child's care (McKinney's Family Court Act, 305.2). The child may not be questioned unless he and his parents or other person legally responsible for his care been advised of the child's right to remain silent and request to have an attorney. (McKinney's Family Court Act, 305.2). The police must make responsible efforts to notify a parent or other person legally responsible for the child's care and give them an opportunity to be present. A violation by the police bars the admission of any statement the child makes. If the police have made reasonable efforts to notify the parents or other legally responsible person, their absence at the time of questioning does not automatically bar the admission of any statement the child makes. Their absence at the time of questioning is one factor the court considers to determine whether the statements were made voluntarily.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/2/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
It depends on all the facts and circumstances and the extent of the questioning. If it is more than routine questioning and is custodial interrogation then they need to read him his Miranda rights.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/31/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
Police can question a minor without a parent or an attorney and often do. Most criminal defense attorneys think this is a bad policy and do not like it.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 10/31/2011
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
The police do not need your permission or presence to question your child. In fact, they can take him down to the police station and before a judge before notifying you that they have done this.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/31/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Unfortunately the United States Supreme Court has approved such questioning of a minor in the absence of his or her parents. The police still have to give Miranda warnings if the minor is in custody and certain standards pertain to that consideration. In addition any statement the minor gives must be voluntary and not the product of coercion and/or promises. This is a complex area of the law and only an experienced criminal law specialists can provide an educated opinion on whether the statement is arguable inadmissible in a court proceeding.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/31/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Unfortunately, in Washington, law enforcement can interview a minor without a parent present.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/31/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    The police do not need your permission or consent to speak with your child. However, your child can refuse to talk to the police and you should instruct your children that they always have the right and it is best not to speak with police until they've spoken with you and/or an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The officer should have waited for your arrival to question your son. You should contact an attorney who may be able to move to suppress any statements made by your son. Your son has the right to remain silent and if he was not advised of that or did not understand, his statements may be able to be suppressed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Under PA law, one must look at "the totality of the circumstances" to determine if/how a minor may be interrogated. A lawyer would need many more facts to analyze your question.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    Yes. Your child has to request a lawyer. That is s/he has to 'lawyer up.' The police are not going to look after your child's rights. They need to be taught to say, "I want a lawyer present before I answer any questions." Children need to be told that when a police officer starts questioning them about a crime where they weren't the victim, the police are probably gathering evidence against that child. You children need to be taught to tell the police that "I am not going to answer any questions."
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Thank you for your inquiry The rule used to be that no questioning could occur without a parent present. It has evolved into more a question of whether the setting/means of the questioning is coercive. If so, then statements made by the juvenile are not admissible. In short, a CSC charge is a serious thing which should be enough to suggest that you immediately hire an attorney to get involved in the defense. Your attorney should be familiar with defending CSC cases just like my office. Without representation, there may be a great degree of difficulty ahead.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The police do have the right to question a child without the parents presence. The police can take into custody and arrest a child without first informing the parents. If this happens the parents must be notified immediately. A child has the right to remain silent. A child has the right to an attorney to be present at the questioning. Because of a childs comprehension of the situation differs from an adults their understanding of questioning will also differ. Minors may acquiescence to authority and require Miranda notifications in situations that adults would not. Police officers are required to exercise more care during the questioning of minors. Police officers need to employ methods that balance the child's age against the other circumstances of the case, such as where the interview takes place and who else is present in the room. Remember all questioning of minors or adults has to stop as soon as the person being questioned asks for an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. They can question. They should try to reach parents before they can start.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Office of Nixon Ayemi | Nixon Ayeni
    you need to get a lawyer, the officer should have waited for an adult to be present.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    The police should have waited for you to arrive before questioning the child. Talk to your son's attorney he might be able to get the statement thrown out.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    There is no statutory requirement that a parent be present. The statement made must be given voluntarily. If your son's liberty was restrained at the time, a Miranda warning would be required. It is not easy for the state to prove that a 12 year old understood his right to remain silent, and knowingly waived that right, especially while being held against his will. If your son's answers are an important part of the state's case, you may well be able to fight the use of the statement at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Depending upon the maturity level of the child, the usual age where officers can question a child independently of parents is 10.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Violating his rights requires suppression of his statement. Obviously you need to hire the best lawyer you can afford for this charge. That lawyer will be able to spot the violations.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    He can be questioned by the school administrators with the police present. Once he was advised of his rights, he could be questioned by the police if he waived his right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. We live in an age where school administrators are increasingly acting as agents for law enforcement through such tactics. A good attorney would argue that the school authorities should have read your son his rights. Of course if your son didn't make any damaging statements, none of this would matter. The question would be whether he intended the contact. Unfortunately we live in a world where we must teach our four-year-olds their Miranda rights before sending them to kindergarten. Your son needs a good attorney and should speak to no one other than that attorney. He is facing real trouble including being required to register as a sex offender. What's worse is the school may expel him for violating their discrimination rules. It's time for him to clam up and get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    As a general rule, it has not been required that law enforcement notify a pant before questioning a child. Depending on the circumstances, however, it may give rise to defensive arguments that statements were coerced and, as a result, should be suppressed in any juvenile/criminal proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    The child's age raises issues of whether the child gave a statement voluntarily, with a full understanding of his/her right to remain silent and to have an attorney present. There is no hard and fast rule. A judge must decide whether quetion your child without a parent present justifies the suppression of any statement given by the child and any other evidence which is "the fruit of the poisonous tree."
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC | Ronald Aronds
    The police in New Jersey are not allowed to interrogate a minor without a parent being present. Your son now needs a lawyer since a third degree crime is extremely serious.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    No they cannot without a parent or CPS present.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The police can question anyone they want and they do not have to inform parents, get permission, or let you talk to them. Anything they do to get a confession, statement, or evidence will be examined in a Huntley Hearing to determine the admissibility of the statement and to determine if the Miranda Warnings were given or not. You should retain a good criminal attorney to handle the case which will be brought in Family Court. If your son did not make any admissions there is probably not enough evidence to prove that he committed that particular crime. He is eligible for Youthful Offender Treatment and will not have a criminal record in any event.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    The Law Offices of Jaime Cowan
    The Law Offices of Jaime Cowan | Jaime Cowan
    No they can't question without you being there.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    This is a very serious offense that can have profound consequences. Consult a lawyer as soon ad possible. The issue is if his statements can be used against him and the answer is something you should discuss with the lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Generally this is not acceptable. There is some latitude when questioning about sexual issues. My advice to you, especially since your son has been charged, is to retain the services of an attorney, and until you do so, do not let your son talk to anyone about the alleged incident. Do not put this off.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    A parent is supposed to be present before the questioning of a minor. It is worth hiring a lawyer to review the facts to see if there is a way to preclude the prosecution from using the statements he made while you were not there and whether that makes any difference in the ability of the prosecutor to proceed with the case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    The police may question your son without you there. Your son is his own person and the police may question him. However, the questioning may have issues- the defense may file a motion to suppress his statements due to coercive police tactics but this depends on all of the circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    It depends on several different factors. In most situations, at that age, he should not have been able to be questioned without a parent or attorney present. However if he was asked if he wanted someone present and said no, then the police can proceed. Additionally, if he was told he didn't have to talk to them but did anyway, then it may be viewed as allowable.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/27/2011
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