The minor has the right to remain silent and right to an attorney. The minor can and should request to have a parent present during questioning. My advice to parents is to have the minor’s attorney present during interrogations, line-up or any other investigations. As the parent, you have the following rights: The right to be notified that your child has been arrested and detained, the right to be informed of your child’s constitutional rights, the right to request an attorney for your child, the right to be present in all juvenile (and adult) criminal hearings, the right to inspect your child’s juvenile court file, including probation reports and in most cases, the right for your child’s hearing to be kept confidential.

Parents must incur the costs associated with their child’s juvenile cases and disposition. These include, costs incurred by the county for the minor’s food, clothing and medical expenses while detained, costs of electronic surveillance, costs of legal services and restitution. Payments of these amounts are subject to the ability of the parents to pay them and the probation department will be responsible in assessing such fees.

In California, the police are generally allowed to question minors without a parent’s approval and presence. There is no requirement that parents must consent before their child is interviewed by the police. But the juvenile interrogation must be voluntary. Keep in mind that the minor can and should request the presence of their parents. The parents should hire an attorney immediately.

The minor can always state that they do not want to make any statements and that they want to talk to their parents. Cops can briefly question a minor (just like anyone) if they have reasonable suspicion the minor has violated the law. However, cops can only arrest a minor when they have probable cause to believe the minor violated a law. Whenever cops arrest a minor into custody, they must give the “Miranda” warnings: the minor has right to remain silent, that any statement may be used against him or her, and that the minor has a right to the presence of an attorney.

If the minor makes a “voluntary” statement, an effective and efficient criminal defense attorney must always review the “voluntariness” of a statement and/or confession. Did the cops physically threaten or harm the suspect to get the statements? Did they make any express or implied promises of leniency or reduced sentence? Did the officers isolate the suspect or “wear” the suspect down through deprivation of sleep, water, food and/or toilet facilities? The judge will look at such factors to determine voluntariness and will pay particular attention to the minor’s age. While age alone is not determinative, it is a very relevant factor in the analysis.

Minors are not “free to leave” school grounds.” Therefore, there is a split as to when minors are interrogated at school, should they be considered in custody and consequently triggering the Miranda advisement? This is heavily litigated but the cautionary advice to parents is to let their child know to request for them to be present or to politely decline to make any statements until the parent is cognizant of their child’s situation.

Minors have intrinsic rights to have the ability to call their parents when detained (even in school), and the right to seek legal representation. They do not, however, have the right to bail and a right to jury trial. Having your child detained, questioned by the police and subsequently arrested are horrible things to go through as a parent. The criminal system is overwhelming and may be confusing so having an experienced criminal attorney guide you is necessary especially if your child is involved.

CategoryLegal Advice