Is it illegal to question a 13 year old suspect in regards to a crime?

Asked on August 19, 2011 Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You  don't give much by way of details. That having been said, if the minor was not in custody, it is legally permissible for the police to question them without their parent(s) present. This typically happens when an officer has a reasonable belief that a minor has been involved with the commission a crime. In that instance, the officer can detain the minor to conduct an investigation and during this initial detention, police are not required to let a minor call their parents.   

If the minor is in custody (e.g. arrested), they have the right to call their parents and have their parents present during questioning. Custody typically means arrest but if a child is questioned at school it has successfully been argued that this too can constitute custody. Essentially anytime that the minor's Miranda rights are implicated they have a right to have their parents present.

Note: Regardless of age, if anyone that is in custody is not given the Miranda warning then no statements made by them can be used against them later. However, statements used by a suspect can be used against them if: they were made prior to being placed in custody, or if a suspect was read their rights and went ahead and made voluntary statements anyway.

  


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