Can law enforcement interrogate a minor without an adult present

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can law enforcement interrogate a minor without an adult present

My wife is accused of letting a 20 year old man have sex with our 13 year old daughter. My wife could not be present because she was listed as an offender in the case. However, my daughter was interviewed and recorded by a sexual abuse caseworker at school and by a county investigator. I’m her father and was not asked for my permission to interview or record her.

Asked on December 1, 2016 under Criminal Law, Arkansas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is perfectly legal for the police to question a minor who is not in custody without a parent being present and without thier consent. This often happens when an officer has a reasonable belief that a minor has violated the law. In that case, the officer can detain the minor in order to conduct an investigation. Further, during this initial detention the police are not required to let the minor call their parents. However, if the minor is in custody then they do have have the right to call their parents and have their them present during questioning. Typically, custody means arrest but if a child is questioned at school it has been argued successfully that this constitutes "custody". Basically, anytime that the minor's Miranda rights are implicated they have a right to speak with their parents and have them present. That having been said, since your daughter was more of a victim then a perpertator in the alleged incident, that might make a difference in this situation as well. At this point, you should consult with a criminal law attorney on your daughter's behal; they can best advise you both further.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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