Can Law Enforcement Speak To A Juvenile Without Parental Approval?

Juvenile Law

A cop shows up at your child’s school or your home while you’re away, desiring to talk to your child about a criminal investigation. Can he interview your child in your absence? Can they come inside your home and talk to your child? If so, can a judge suppress your child’s statements? This article delves into these questions and more.

Most people believe the law constrains cops from interviewing juveniles without prior parental consent. This belief is a misconception. Texas police can interview minors without parental presence and prior permission.

However, just like an adult, juveniles can (and should) request a lawyer or parent and then be silent.

Also, just as with adults, the law does not require cops to Mirandize a juvenile during a noncustodial voluntary conversation. This occurrence can sometimes be the grounds for a serious legal battle. That’s because the child probably doesn’t know he may be silent, leave or request an attorney. Nevertheless, prosecutors can use anything the child says in a court proceeding unless the judge suppresses the evidence.

What if my child is arrested?

If a cop places a juvenile in custody, the cop must notify the child’s parent in a reasonable time. Further, the cop must inform the parent why he put the child in custody. Failure to do so could cause a judge to suppress any statements.

For instance, in one juvenile case, a cop arrested a 15-year-old juvenile for the murder of an older person. The cop took the child in front of a judge and Mirandized him. The juvenile’s attorney moved the court to suppress the evidence. The trial court suppressed the evidence. The state appealed. However, the appeals court affirmed the suppression because the cop failed to notify the juvenile’s mother in a reasonable time.

What’s more, once a cop notifies a parent he has taken a juvenile into custody, and for what reason, the cop must Mirandized the juvenile and take him in front of a judge within 24 hours. If the judge is satisfied, the child understood the Miranda warnings; the judge can allow the police to continue interrogating the child.

Once a cop takes a child into a juvenile processing office, the parent may be present. In fact, the cop must inform the child of his right to have his parent(s) accompany him. If the cops fail to meet this requirement, a court may suppress any statements the child gave that violate this law. Further, a parent may speak with their child in private, even if the child is in custody at the processing office.

Contact us immediately

Juvenile law is a specialized area of law. You need a knowledgeable and experienced juvenile attorney to represent your child. Don’t hesitate to contact us if a cop interviews or desires to interview your child or has your child in custody.

Contact Corbett & Corbett LLP today.