The police questioned my 10 year old son without a parent being present, were his rights violated by the school and the police?

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The police questioned my 10 year old son without a parent being present, were his rights violated by the school and the police?

My 10 year old son had the police called on him by another students parents for scratching their son in the ear with a pencil. They wanted to file charges against my son. The next day at school the officer came back to the school and questioned my son. Mean while no letter, email or phone call was received by me. I feel like my son’s rights were violated. What should I do?

Asked on December 12, 2016 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The police can legally question a minor who is not in custody and without a parent being present and without their consent. This typically happens if an officer has a reasonable belief that the minor has violated the law. In such a situation, the officer can detain the minor in order to conduct an investigation. Further, during the police are not required to let the minor call their parents at this time. That having been said, if in fact the minor is in custody then they do have have the right to call their parents and have their them present during any questioning. As a general rule, custody means arrest, and if a child is questioned at school it has been successfully argued that this constitutes "custody". This means that in such a case, the minor's Miranda rights are implicated so they have a right to speak with their parents and have them present. At this point, you should consult with a criminal law attorney; they can best advise you both further.


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