Can the police question a minor in the parents' absence?

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Can the police question a minor in the parents' absence?

Children make mistakes, and unfortunately, some may get them on the wrong side of the law. If a child is accused and arrested of a crime, they may be treated like an adult, including being interrogated. According to New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice Commission, a law enforcement officer can take a juvenile into custody if they have probable cause to believe they are delinquent. The police will inform the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the arrest but can start asking questions before they arrive. Here are three situations that may call for this.

No names or addresses

When a child is arrested, the police will ask for their parents’ names and addresses. If they refuse to provide this information, the interview can be conducted without their presence. Some kids do this to avoid informing their parents of the arrest. But it’s not a wise move since they may incriminate themselves by answering questions without guidance. Further, their parents will eventually know of it.

Parents cannot be found

After a child provides their parents’ contact details, the police will look for them through calls or physical searching. If they can’t find them after a good faith effort, they may proceed with the interrogation.

Parents refuse to attend

If a child’s parents or guardians are contacted but refuse to attend, the police may still question the child. Parents often refuse to go to the police station due to disappointment. If the police inform you of your child’s arrest, it may be best to get to the station as soon as possible. You should also consider legal guidance to protect your child’s future.

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