Yes, the police can speak to, question and even detain a minor without contacting their parent or guardian in Florida. Under Florida law, a police officer can approach and speak to minors while they are in school, out in public or at home alone, and the police can proceed with questioning the child about a crime they were involved in, an incident they witnessed or a crime that they were the victim of without obtaining permission or consent from the minor’s parent.
One major difference between an adult and a minor being questioned by the police is the ability of the minor’s parents to prevent the interview. Generally, if the police are questioning an adult then no other adult can prevent the questioning. For example, if Joe, a 19-year-old college student, is with his mother when he is approached by the police for questioning about a grand theft auto, then his mother cannot prevent the police from questioning Joe because Joe is an adult. However, if Michael, a 14-year-old high school student, is with his mom and the police approach him to question him about a bag of marijuana that was found in his car, then his mom can stop the police from questioning Michael because Michael is a minor. The police would also be required to stop their questioning if a lawyer hired by Michael’s mother refused an interview on Michael’s behalf. Minors in Florida are awarded that extra protection, but law enforcement will oftentimes approach the minor for questioning when no parents are around to prevent a parent or lawyer from stopping the interview.
For that reason, it’s important that your child knows that they can always refuse to be questioned. Whether your child is questioned by a neighborhood patrol officer, the school resource officer or a seasoned detective, they always have the right to refuse to answer questions. They can also ask to contact you or an attorney before answering any questions. Even if your child is not the subject of a criminal investigation, your child should contact you because you need to be aware of what law enforcement is questioning your child about. You also need to determine whether you want your minor child to be a part of the criminal investigation. Unfortunately, a minor’s involvement in a criminal case can have negative, traumatic effects on a minor, even if they are just a witness, so being aware of what the police are talking to your child about is extremely important. Depending on the situation, speaking to the police may not be worth it, even if there are no legal implications.
If the police come to your house to question your minor child then you should always contact a lawyer before allowing the police to begin their interrogation. Law enforcement is allowed to lie to you and mislead you and your child, so even if you think you have an idea of why the police are asking your child questions you may be wrong. In fact, law enforcement officers rarely provide all details of their investigations when questioning suspects and witnesses as an investigative tactic, so contacting a lawyer is always in your best interest.
If an officer questions your minor child and your child tells you they did not want to speak to the officer, then your child’s constitutional rights may have been violated. Regardless of the situation, you need an experienced attorney to file pleadings with the appropriate court attacking the admissibility of your child’s statement or seeking the suppression of any evidence found as a result of their statement. There are many more benefits to hiring an attorney if you feel your child’s rights have been violated, and it’s important for you to choose the right attorney. Matthew Williams and the Law Office of Matthew Williams focus primarily on criminal defense matters in North Florida, and he’s been handling juvenile delinquency cases his entire career. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case, and he refuses to let law enforcement, state attorneys, or the criminal justice system stand in the way of getting his juvenile clients the justice they deserve. He obtains the best results for his clients and he’ll do the same for your child. Give the Law Office of Matthew Williams a call now.
Yes, you should always contact a lawyer if the police try to question you about your involvement in a crime. You should also speak to a lawyer before speaking with the police even in situations where you are “just a witness” or you were “just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Here’s why:
Police officers are allowed to lie to you, mislead you and trick you into making statements. They are under no obligation to tell you the truth about who they are investigating, what evidence they have, or whether they are going to arrest you after you provide a statement, so you can never trust a police officer who is questioning you. In fact, you may not even realize you are the subject of a criminal investigation until you’ve already incriminated yourself, so ask for a lawyer before you speak to any law enforcement officer.
Generally, if law enforcement officers want to speak to you then you are either the subject of a criminal investigation or they believe you have information related to a criminal investigation. Naturally, people want to tell their “side of the story” because they want to prove they are innocent or they want to provide helpful information, but if you are the suspect in a criminal investigation and you provide a statement then your own words may be used to incriminate you. Your words can also be used to place you at the scene of the crime, or to eliminate any defenses you may have. The same can happen even if you believe you were “just a witness,” so it’s always best to speak to a lawyer before giving your statement.
Keep this in mind also: If the police have probable cause to arrest you then they are going to arrest you whether you make a statement or not. Nobody can talk their way out of probable cause so making a statement can only make your situation worse. Also, even if you are innocent, if you give a statement and misstate one fact, that misstatement can be considered a lie that may come back to hurt you later (for example, let’s say John Doe is completely innocent but he is being questioned about a murder that happened at a nearby park. John Doe says “I had nothing to do with that murder. I don’t know the victim and I’ve never been to that park,” but then the police later find out that John was really at the park, then John just made himself look like a suspect, even though he didn’t commit any murder.).
A lot of people are afraid to ask for a lawyer when confronted by the police, or they think asking for a lawyer will make them look bad. It’s natural for us as human beings to explain our actions or innocence, but you need to request a lawyer before you speak. Always remain respectful when asking for a lawyer, and if the police officer still moves forward with questioning then you should ask for a lawyer a second time. Do not think about whether or not asking for a lawyer makes you look bad and do not think about whether the officer is going to be upset with you. You have a constitutional right to speak with a lawyer and no judge, court or jury can legally hold it against you.
#d29e0eThere are very few situations where it is in your best interest to talk. Even if it is in your best interest, you have no way of knowing whether it is in your best interest without speaking to a lawyer. If law enforcement has contacted you to provide a statement then you should contact The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams immediately. At The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams, we can discuss your situation, your potential statement and the legal implications as it relates to any statement you make. In most cases, Attorney Williams is able to make contact with the investigator or detective prior to meeting with you, and he’s able to advise you on whether you should provide a statement. If it is appropriate to provide a statement, Attorney Williams will accompany you while you make the statement as well.
There are many other benefits to retaining a lawyer if you are contacted by law enforcement. Attorney Williams and The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams focus primarily on criminal defense matters and they take pride in obtaining great results for their clients. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case, and he refuses to let law enforcement, prosecutors, or the criminal justice system stand in the way of getting his clients the outcome they deserve. He obtains justice for his clients and he’ll do the same for you, so give The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams a call to find out how he can seek justice for you today.