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Do police officers need to inform teens of their Miranda Rights?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When someone is interacting with the police, they have some basic rights that are often known as their Miranda Rights. One of these is the right to remain silent, meaning they don’t have to say anything that would incriminate themselves or be used against them. Another is the right to legal representation, which may mean that they get to have a lawyer present while talking to the police.

A controversial case involving a 13-year-old went to the Supreme Court, asking the question of whether or not that teenager should have been informed of their Miranda Rights during an encounter with police. The court ruled that police officers do need to consider how old someone is in this position, and reading them their rights may be necessary.

Why this is especially important for teens

There are a few reasons why reading Miranda Rights is especially important when dealing with teen offenders. First and foremost, teenagers may believe that they have to answer questions or that they’re not free to go. They view the police as being in a position of authority. An adult may naturally know that they can leave whenever they want and that they don’t have to say anything, but it’s easier to manipulate young people who don’t see the situation the same way.

In other words, police officers need to be aware that a teenager may not inherently understand their rights and could accidentally do something to incriminate themselves or make themselves appear guilty. Police cannot exploit these young people intentionally, so they need to tell them about their rights and ensure that they know.

Are you the parent of a teenager who was recently arrested, and do you believe the police may have violated their rights in the process? Be sure you understand all of the criminal defense options you have.