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Questioning of a Minor Without Parents or an Attorney

October 31st, 2019 at 2:17 pm

juvenile-defenseWhen your child has been arrested for an offense such as underage drinking, the situation can be terrifying. One of the most frightening aspects of this scenario for parents is learning that their child was questioned by police without an attorney, and without either parent being present. So, what does the law say in Illinois about questioning a minor? Are police officers required to ensure the parents or the child’s attorney is present?

What Is the Definition of a Minor?

Under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987, individuals 18 years old or younger are considered minors in Illinois. Even minors charged with a felony are still considered juveniles and are tried in juvenile court. However, if the court views the crime as especially heinous, a juvenile may be transferred and tried in adult court. This process typically only applies to violent offenses such as murder and rape.

How Long Can Law Enforcement Detain a Minor?

Just like with adults, if a police officer suspects a minor of committing a crime, they can take them to the police station for questioning. These questions, and the answers to them, could potentially be used as part of the investigation and considered evidence. The length of time law enforcement can detain minors depends on the age of the minor.

When the child is younger than 12 years old, law enforcement can hold them up to six hours or charge them with a crime. If the child is between the ages of 12 and 18, law enforcement can detain the minor for up to 12 hours if the alleged crime was a non-violent offense. In instances in which the alleged crime was a violent offense, law enforcement can detain a minor for up to 24 hours.

Questioning Without an Attorney or Parent Present

In most cases, law enforcement can question a minor without an attorney or their parents present. However, new legislation was signed into law in August of 2016 that could require an attorney, depending on the circumstances and the age of the minor. The most recent law requires law enforcement to:

  • Ensure an attorney is present when the child is 15 years old or younger and has been charged with a murder or sex offense
  • Read the minor a simplified version of their Miranda rights if the child is under the age of 18
  • Specifically ask the minor if they would like a lawyer present if they are under the age of 18
  • Videotape the interrogation if the minor is under the age of 18 and being charged with a felony offense or a misdemeanor sex offense

The only requirement mandated by Illinois law as it pertains to parents being present for questioning is that law enforcement must make a reasonable attempt to contact them. Unfortunately, the law does not specify what constitutes a reasonable offense, nor does it state the penalties for law enforcement when they do not comply.

Has Your Child been Charged with a Crime? Call Our Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child has been arrested, you need the help of our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We understand that police do not always uphold the rights of minors. When that happens, we know how to get evidence thrown out and craft a solid defense to give your child the best chance of a successful outcome. Do not navigate the juvenile justice system on your own. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation so our attorney can review your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-16

 

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