The law has long recognized that minors do not have the same capacity for moral reasoning and self-control that adults do. When a juvenile is arrested in Washington, there are certain rights that police officers must uphold. They include:
a. Miranda rights
All juveniles have the right to remain silent during and after arrest. This means that they do not have to answer any questions asked by the police. If the juvenile does choose to speak with the police, the judge will use anything they say against them in court. A police officer must read these rights to them clearly during their arrest. Failure to, the juvenile or their parent can challenge any information given before they were made aware of their Miranda rights.
b. Right to an attorney
Juveniles have the right to a criminal defense attorney during interrogation and at all other stages of the justice process. If a minor cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for them. Juveniles need to understand their right to an attorney and how they can help them protect their rights during this challenging time.
c. Right to a parent or guardian
Underage youths or children can get scared, confused, or vulnerable during the interrogation process. Thus, the law can allow a parent to be present during their questioning. Keep in mind that the police are free to approach your kid and question them, even when you are not around, but they can refuse to give them an answer at any given time. If the police officer forces a minor to talk, they could get into legal trouble.
d. The right to be treated fairly
Juveniles are entitled to fair treatment throughout the criminal justice process. This includes being respected, having their rights explained to them, and being treated in a way that is appropriate for their age and development level.
If you have reason to believe that the police officers or prosecutors violated your child’s rights during the arrest or questioning process, you should take legal action against the officer in charge. By doing this, you could have the court dismiss some of the evidence collected unlawfully.