Minor's Rights

Recent case law by the California Supreme Court [People v. Lessie, 2010 Cal. LEXIS 587] has held that your minor's request to speak with a parent during a police interrogation does not per se invoke his or her Fifth Amendment rights, i.e., right to remain silent or right against self-incrimination. Unfortunately, the only person that can adequately protect your minor from the police is his or her attorney.

If your child has been detained, cited or arrested by a police officer in San Mateo County, it is vital that you contact an experienced juvenile delinquency defense attorney right away to safeguard your child's rights. Consult with our team at Ahmed & Sukaram online or call our lawyers at 866-477-0965.

Reasons for Detention, Arrest or Custody Without a Warrant

When there is no warrant, a peace officer may take into temporary custody a minor who is any one of the following:

  • A person under 18 years of age who the officer has reasonable cause to believe is a ward of the court, is currently a ward of the court, or subject to an order by the court pending a juvenile jurisdictional or dispositional hearing and who the officer has reasonable cause to believe has violated that order. A ward of the court is an individual whose care and custody remains with the juvenile court and the agencies of the court.
  • A person who the peace officer has reasonable cause to believe has escaped from any commitment ordered by the court, i.e., juvenile hall, juvenile camp, California Youth Authority, or a drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility.
  • A person under 18 years of age who is found in a public place and is sick and injured, requiring medical treatment, hospitalization or other remedial care.
  • A person under 18 years of age who has committed a misdemeanor.
  • A person who the officer has a reasonable suspicion has been, is, or is about to be involved or participate in criminal activity.
  • A person who appears to be between the ages of six and 18, to investigate whether the person is a truant from full-time compulsory education. The peace officer must have specific and articulable facts causing the officer to reasonably suspect that a truancy violation is occurring and that the person to be detained is a truant. This type of detention is permissible only during school hours, and the detention cannot be based on appearance of youthfulness alone.

Notice of Detention, Custody or Arrest to Parent, Responsible Relative or Guardian

When a peace officer takes a juvenile before a probation officer at a juvenile hall or to any place of confinement, the peace officer must take immediate steps to notify the juvenile's parent, guardian or a responsible relative. The police must tell the parent, guardian or responsible relative that the minor is in custody and the place where the juvenile is being held.

Juvenile's Right to Telephone Calls

Any juvenile must be advised that he or she has the right to make at least two telephone calls from the place of confinement. This advisement must occur immediately after being taken to a place of confinement and, except where physically impossible, no later than one hour after he or she has been taken into custody.

One of the two telephone calls is to be completed to a parent or guardian, a responsible relative, or his or her employer. The second telephone call is to be completed to an attorney. These calls are at public expense if the calls are completed to telephone numbers within the local calling area.

Any public officer or employee who willfully deprives a juvenile taken into custody of his or her right to make the telephone calls is guilty of a misdemeanor. Our team can help you protect your child's rights if they have been denied a phone call. We will use our knowledge of California's juvenile defense laws to protect your family.

When a Miranda Statement is Required

When a peace officer takes a juvenile into temporary custody on the reasonable belief that the juvenile is a ward of the court, violated a juvenile court order or has escaped from a juvenile court commitment, then the peace officer must give a Miranda statement. The cop must advise the juvenile that anything he or she says can be used against him or her and must advise the juvenile of their constitutional rights, including the right to remain silent, the right to have counsel present during any questioning, and the right to have counsel appointed if the juvenile is unable to afford counsel.

Issues surrounding the necessity of providing the Miranda advisement are based on whether the minor has been released from custody, the duration and degree of restraint and the objective circumstances of any interrogation that occurs.

Chemical Testing, Fingerprinting and Photographing

When a minor has been detained, a peace officer can request that the minor voluntarily submit urine for chemical testing, to determine the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs in any of the following circumstances:

  • When a minor is taken into temporary custody pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 625(a). This section includes a minor whom the officer reasonably believes is a ward of the court, is subject to juvenile court jurisdiction, criminal proceedings of the court, or subject to juvenile court adjudication.
  • When the peace officer has reasonable cause for believing the minor is a person described in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602.
  • When the minor is taken into temporary custody pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 625(b) or (c). This section describes a minor whom the officer has a reasonable cause for believing has violated a juvenile court order, or has escaped from a juvenile court commitment. This category also includes any minor who is found in any street or public place who is sick or injured and requires treatment or care.
  • The peace officer must tell the minor that the chemical testing is voluntary. The peace officer must give a specified admonition unless the test is administered in a drunk-driving context. There is very specific wording the police must follow to meet this requirement.

Fingerprinting and photographing of a juvenile who is taken into temporary custody for the commission of a felony offense is expressly authorized pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 626.

Alternatives Available to the Detaining Officer

An officer can choose from several different alternatives when taking a minor into temporary custody. The detaining officer may choose any one of the following:

  • Release the minor [Welfare & Institutions Code Section 626(a)].
  • Bring the minor to a community program for abused and neglected children or an agency providing shelter, counseling or diversion services.
  • Prepare a written notice to appear before the probation officer of the county at a time and place specified in the notice.

This notice must be prepared in duplicate and contain a concise statement of the reasons the minor was taken into custody. One copy of the notice must be given to the minor or the minor's parent, guardian or a responsible relative of the minor.

If the minor was taken into custody without a warrant on belief that the minor committed a misdemeanor crime, the minor must be brought to the probation officer within 24 hours. The peace officer must prepare a concise written statement of the probable cause and reasons for taking the minor into temporary custody. The officer must give the statement to the probation officer at the time that the minor is delivered to the probation officer.

Were Your Child's Rights Violated?

If you believe your child's rights have been violated, contact our Redwood City law office to speak with a knowledgeable attorney regarding your options. Reach out to us at 866-477-0965

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