When Washington police suspect that someone may have committed a crime, they often proceed to question them. Most adults know that they have Miranda rights, meaning that they have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions. However, this concept is not always well understood by minors. When informing a child of his or her rights, officers should always consider his or her:
- Capacity to understand
When do Miranda rights apply?
A police officer is required to tell someone about Miranda rights prior to interrogating or taking him or her into custody. This step is especially important when dealing with minors, as the law actually provides additional requirements to ensure that teens and even children understand their rights. If an officer fails to adhere to these requirements, any information obtained during questioning could ultimately be thrown out.
Minors might also need their rights explained much more clearly. Part of the problem is that Miranda rights kick in when someone is in police custody, and minors may interpret this to mean when they are arrested. However, individuals may also be in police custody if they do not feel free to leave. Police officers should always be very clear when they are taking children into custody and informing them of their Miranda rights.
Speaking with a police officer can be intimidating. The experience can feel even more overwhelming for minors, who are less familiar with their rights when it comes to police questioning. Washington parents of minors who are facing criminal charges may even want to explore their options for having information obtained during police questioning thrown out.