Parental Rights Throughout Juvenile Interrogations

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 07, 2023 | 0 Comments

If your child has been arrested or is involved in a law enforcement investigation, you likely want to be involved every step of the way. After all, it's hard enough for adults to understand their rights and advocate for themselves while dealing with law enforcement. This pressure is magnified for minors who very likely do not understand the magnitude of what is happening. If your child has been arrested and/or is facing criminal charges, it's paramount that you work with a qualified juvenile defense attorney who understands the complexities of the juvenile delinquency system.

What Your Child Should Know if They Are Arrested

Like adults, minors who are arrested are afforded certain enumerable rights under the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions. Some of these rights include:

  • The right to receive Miranda Warnings and remain silent;
  • The right to make a phone call;
  • The right to an attorney; and
  • The right to speak with their attorney

Throughout the process, Pennsylvania Policy also requires that juvenile offenders are dealt with in the least “coercive” manner possible, even in situations where they “confess” to committing a particular crime.

If a minor is arrested and taken into custody without a warrant, officers must immediately notify the minor's parent/guardian of the arrest, the reasons for the arrest, and where the minor is currently held. At this point, law enforcement can either release the minor to their parents/guardians on the guardian's promise to ensure the minor returns for a detention hearing, deliver the minor to a detention facility designated by the court, or deliver the minor to a medical facility in instances where they require immediate medical attention. It's important to note that while parents and guardians have the right to be notified of how law enforcement chooses to proceed, the decision is ultimately left up to law enforcement and the juvenile court system.

Parental Rights Throughout Interrogations

Prior to questioning a minor, law enforcement must seek parental/guardian permission prior to commencing the interview. Officers must also carefully explain that whether parents will be present during the interview is ultimately the “prerogative” of the parent and juvenile, not the questioning officers. Throughout this entire process, Pennsylvania policy focuses on proper consent. In fact, even if the juvenile is willing to be interrogated, but the parents object, Pennsylvania State Police must not conduct the interview. Police must also stop the interview if, at any point in time, either the parent or the minor indicates that they are done answering questions.

If the parents and juvenile opt not to include parents in the interview, law enforcement must ensure that they notify parents about the “results” of the interview. In instances where the parent or guardian is a suspected adversary or accomplice, however, law enforcement officers are not required to disclose what was discussed during the minor's interview.

Finally, throughout the entire process, law enforcement must be sensitive to the age and emotional well-being of the minor and must conduct their interrogation with “dignity, sensitivity, and in a non-threatening atmosphere.” If your child has been arrested, held, or interrogated, and you suspect that your child's legal rights have not been upheld, you should speak with a qualified juvenile defense attorney immediately.

Work with an Experienced Juvenile Defense Attorney

Facing criminal charges can be one of the most terrifying and difficult experiences you and your child will face. Our Criminal Defense Team is compassionate, skilled, and has extensive experience successfully defending juveniles in the Pennsylvania Delinquency System. Don't wait. Speak with us today by calling 888-535-3686 or tell us about your child's case online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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