Can aminor be questioned without a parent present?

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Can aminor be questioned without a parent present?

My 16 year-old was arrested and charged with several things. The cop was asking her questions without me there. She was with a friend and he just turned 20. They searched his phone and found some pictures of her wearing nothing and now they are arresting him for child pornogophy. Also, they found a text from my daughter to him saying she would perform a sex act on him and they both are getting charged for sexual battery.

Asked on October 22, 2010 under Criminal Law, Idaho

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the police can question a minor without their parent(s) present if that minor is not in custody.  This often happens when an officer has a reasonable belief that a minor has violated the law. They can detain the minor to conduct an investigation. During this initial detention, the police are not required to let a minor call their parents.   

However, if the minor is in custody (i.e. arrest), that changes things. In such a case, they have the right to call their parents and have their parents present during questioning.  Basically, anytime that the minor's Miranda rights are implicated they have a right to speak with their parents and have them present.

Note:  Regardless of age, if someone is in custody and not given the Miranda warning no statements made by them can be used later against them.  However, prior to being placed in custody any statements made can be used; or if they were read their rights and made voluntary statements after, those statements may be used.


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