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Are parents required to be present when police question minors?

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense

When dealing with law enforcement, minors often find themselves in vulnerable positions. As the parent of a minor in Minnesota, it is essential to understand the rules and regulations surrounding police interrogation.

Specifically, is it lawful for the police to interrogate your child without you present?

Minnesota law regarding minor interrogation

Minnesota law allows police officers to question minors without a parent present. However, the law also emphasizes the minor’s rights, ensuring they are aware of their legal protections.

Before any police interrogation, officers must read the individual their Miranda rights, which apply to minors as well. This informs the minor that they have the right to remain silent and that the courts can use anything they say against them.

Juvenile’s understanding of rights

While police can technically interrogate minors without a parent present, courts often scrutinize whether the minor fully understood their rights at the time of questioning. Minnesota law says that law enforcement can interview the child, but must consider the child’s ability to understand and speak, age and development. They must also ensure they only ask open-ended questions to not guide the child into an answer.

Police discretion and parental involvement

Even though police have the discretion to question minors without their parents, involving a trusted adult whenever possible is generally advisable. This helps ensure that minors understand the implications of the interrogation process.

Courts’ consideration of parental presence

In some cases, whether a parent was present during the interrogation could impact how courts view the minor’s statement. Courts may be more likely to view a statement as voluntary if a parent or guardian was present.

The issue of police interrogation of minors without a parent present involves a delicate balance. By understanding these nuances, you can better navigate any interactions with law enforcement. Be sure to consider these points, ensuring your rights or those of your child are always at the forefront.