The law allows the police in Georgia to freely approach a child and learn about their involvement in a crime. However, the child also has the right to choose to answer the questions or not.
But what are some of the other rights of a minor being questioned by a police officer?
1. They can either request a parent or lawyer to be present.
A child can request the presence of a parent or lawyer at any point before or during the interrogation. If the child can request to call a parent in the middle of questioning, and the police are required by law to abide.
Once the parent or lawyer has arrived, they may also decide whether the child should answer the questions.
2. The fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects anyone from forcefully admitting to a crime.
The police may use any informal conversation that occurred between the police and a child while not under arrest against the child in court. It is mainly because the information was voluntary. Any information obtained through the forceful coercion of the child to admit to a crime against their will is not relevant in a law court.
3. Miranda Rights
When the police take a child into custody and interrogate them, they first need to advise them on their Miranda rights before collecting any statements.
The full Miranda rights are:
- “You have the right to remain silent.”
- “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
- “You have the right to an attorney.”
- “If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”
Only if the officer advised the child on these rights can their reports be considered in a law court. Because the Miranda rights state that anyone has the right to remain silent and consult with an attorney before presenting any information to the police, any information a child gives without being told their Miranda rights can only be used to help with the case — but not to actually incriminate the child.
When a child is arrested and not allowed to call the parents or an attorney, the parents may file a complaint against the police department for violating the child’s rights.