Do you know that a minor cannot be arrested for a suspected crime? This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that a North Carolina police officer cannot or will not take your minor son or daughter into custody. Police can take juveniles into temporary custody under certain circumstances, which is why it is important for parents to understand criminal laws regarding minors.
If your son or daughter is in a situation where there might be probable cause for an arrest if he or she were an adult, then police may take him or her into temporary custody. If this occurs, however, police must notify you and inform you that your child is in police custody. They must also tell you that you have a right to be present while your child’s case is being processed.
Criminal laws require release of juvenile within 12 hours
If police in North Carolina have taken your child into temporary custody, they must release him or her within 12 hours. As with most criminal laws, there are exceptions to this rule. If it is a weekend or holiday, the custody may last up to 24 hours. Also, if a petition has been filed for non-secure or secure custody, they can detain a juvenile longer than that.
Police cannot put your child in jail
Criminal laws for juveniles are different from those that govern adult issues. If a petition is filed to keep your teen in secure custody, you needn’t be worried that he or she will be in a county jail cell. In such cases, authorization would be granted to continue detainment in a juvenile detention facility. This can only be done in certain circumstances, such as if your child is facing felony charges or they have determined that he or she is a danger to others.
A juvenile may also be placed in non-secure custody, which basically means custody outside of a juvenile detention facility. This type of custody usually involves a relative, social services or other agent or agency accepting custody of a minor.
Your child has rights under interrogation
As a parent, it is always best to make sure that your teenage son or daughter understands his or her constitutional rights, especially rights pertaining to police interrogation. If police are going to question a juvenile while in temporary, secure or non-secure custody, he or she must be informed of the right to have legal counsel present.
A minor also has the right to have a parent or legal guardian present for all questioning that takes place during custody. Remember, they should have told you that when you received a phone call informing you that your child was taken into temporary custody. If you’re unsure what to do next or whether a personal rights violation has taken place regarding an underage son or daughter, you should not hesitate to reach out for additional guidance and support.