Interrogation of a minor works the same way it does with adult suspects: they have all their constitutional rights and have been made aware of their Miranda rights. The only difference is a parent or guardian must be present during any interview. Interrogation can happen either in a police department or outside (hospital room, child’s room, etc).
When a minor is arrested and taken into a police department, they are kept separate from adult offenders at all times. If there are no adults in the booking room (a room where people are placed for processing after being arrested), the child can wait there. Otherwise, they must be moved to another location (usually an office). If they are reasonably suspected of being responsible for a criminal act, they must be placed in a cell or lockable room (regardless of whether the room is locked or not). The suspect can only be held for six hours and must be monitored at all times. If no one can be contacted regarding the care and shelter of the child or the adult refuses custody, the police can submit a request to detain the child for the safety of the child.
A separate record log is kept for juvenile holdings. Anyone under the age of majority who is detained for any amount of time and any reason must be recorded in this log book. A copy of the log is attached to the case report.
Any minor charged with a crime has their fingerprints and photo taken. When this information is entered into the police database, the record gets a “juvenile” designation. A parent or guardian must be contacted and informed of the whereabouts of the child, the reason for their arrest, and the police’s intentions for further action.
To release the child before a court date, the police issue a summons, a formal complaint, and a promise to appear form, and the child must be released to a parent, guardian, or other appropriate person or agency. If the child is almost at the age of majority, the officer can choose to release them “into his or her own custody,” though the forms are still given to a parent or guardian. If the officer cannot reach a suitable adult authority, the forms are sent to the parent or guardian’s home address.
The officer can also choose to send the child immediately to a juvenile detention center if the crime is a “serious juvenile offense” (see below) or there is already an outstanding warrant or court order for arrest. If this is done, the police will not issue a summons, and processing of the minor is handled by the detention facility.
Of course, depending on the type and severity of the crime (such as murder or gang-related activity), it is possible for the child to be tried and convicted as an adult.
ayominho says: In most states it is NOT true that a kid can’t be interrogated without a parent being present. Cops generally have to tell a kid they can consult with their parents before they can question a kid. Check the state laws where your story takes place people. Laws vary.
the-littlest-daisy added: this isn’t true, i was arrested before and i wasn’t read miranda rights, they tricked me into believing i was picking up my stuff they took from my house after they arrested my brother
Offenses that fall under “serious juvenile offense” include: