Can the parents of a minor child consent to a search of their child’s possessions over the child’s objection?

A minor had an incident with their parents and police were contacted. The call was about domestic violence and not directly involving a weapon but it was mentioned to the 911 operator. Do the police have the right to search the minor’s belongings, such as draws, cabinets and a safe even if the minor did not consent to a search but the parents did?

Asked on February 20, 2016 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the parents (or legal guardians) of a minor child may consent on the child's behalf to a police search, and anything found during the search wiltl be admissible. Similarly, school officials could consent to a search of the minor's locker, since they stand in the stead or place of the parents during the school day. Parents may consent to a whole host of things for their minor children, who do not yet have the legal rights to make their own decisions in many matters, including searches and medical treatment.


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