As a parent, worrying about your child’s safety and well-being is natural. One of the concerns that may weigh heavily on your mind is the possibility of police questioning your child.
It is essential to know that the police can approach children and ask them questions about a crime. Just like adults, children have the right to remain silent.
Children can refuse to answer questions
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clarifies people’s right to avoid self-incrimination. This means a child can refuse to answer questions without fear of punishment or incriminating themselves. If a child voluntarily admits to participating in a crime, the police can use their statement against them in court.
Police cannot retrieve information through coercion
When courts decide whether a minor’s statement is voluntary, they consider various factors. This includes the child’s age, education level, emotional state and experience with the criminal justice system. If the police arrest a child or take them into custody, they must hear their Miranda rights.
Initial questioning does not require the parent’s permission
Parents need to understand that the police are not required to contact or get their permission before questioning a child. Minnesota requires police to notify parents if they arrest a minor. Additionally, if police question children without arresting them, the children may request the presence of a parent or guardian.
If the police approach your children, they must remain calm. While the police can question children about their involvement in a crime, children have the right to remain silent and invoke their Miranda rights. Parents need to be aware and educate their children about their rights.