What Are the Laws Around Police Questioning Minors?
Note that Eisenberg Law is licensed to practice in the state of Wisconsin and so we are familiar with Wisconsin law. If you are outside Wisconsin, please contact an attorney in your state as we are not familiar with the laws in other states and will not be able to give you advice.
Know the rights of your child when they are questioned by Police
Police are allowed to question minors, and sometimes they do so without parents or guardians around. But minors are still protected by laws that can require that police get parental consent depending on the circumstances. If the wrong procedures are followed, the police could end up in legal trouble.
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments
The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination (e.g., when saying something might imply or confirm that the speaker is guilty), and the Sixth protects the right to have legal counsel, to have a parent or lawyer present during questioning, and to refuse to speak with law enforcement. Minors are protected by these amendments just like adults are.
When a Minor Is a Victim or a Witness
Laws surrounding when police can question a minor who is a witness to a crime or who is a victim are not always detailed. In these cases, police can speak with the minor without parental approval, although the protections from the Fifth and Sixth amendments still stand. If your child was questioned by a police officer or other law enforcement official, and you’re concerned about potential repercussions for your child (such as the police targeting the child in the future, or revenge from classmates the child may have pointed out to police), you should speak with a lawyer.
When a Minor Is a Suspect
Things get a little more detailed when the minor is actually detained as a suspect. They also get more dangerous for the minor as what they say can be admissible in court. Your child should know their rights to remain silent and have parents or lawyers present and that if they make this request and police don’t comply, then that could put the police and the case against the child in jeopardy.
If your child was questioned by the police for any reason, and you’re concerned about how that might affect the child in the future or the child has requested a lawyer, contact Eisenberg Law Offices at (608) 256-8356. You and your child must have someone defending your rights surrounding law enforcement questioning.