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What are a minor's rights during juvenile crime interrogations?

Anyone who has a child that is in trouble with the law knows that getting the child proper representation is vital. In our previous blog post, we discussed this at length. For parents who have children currently involved in the Virginia juvenile justice system and those who want to be ready in case their child has issues creep up, knowing some of the basics about how police officers can question minors might come in handy.

Do juveniles have rights?

Juveniles do have specific rights when being questioned by police officers. A Supreme Court ruling involving a 13-year-old boy suspected of burglary involvement ruled that children can't be viewed as miniature adults. Instead, police officers have to consider the child's lack of adult maturity and potential acquiescence to authority when deciding when to let a child know their Miranda rights when being questioned about a juvenile crime.

Should a child be given Miranda notifications?

The answer to that depends on the situation. In most cases, it would be beneficial for the child to simply ask for a parent to come in before answer questions. Some minors can't comprehend the reason for the questioning as an adult would be able to. This is another reason why it is important for police officers to ensure children know their rights during any type of questioning.

Any parent who has a child involved in the juvenile justice system likely only wants to protect his or her child. It is imperative that parents and children understand to the best of their abilities how to handle interrogations and other questioning that might occur when a juvenile is suspected of a crime.

Source: FindLaw, "Police Questioning of Minors" Oct. 02, 2014

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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