Police in Florida are generally allowed to question minors if there is reason to believe that they have committed a crime. Minors who are questioned by the police generally have the same rights as an adult who is in custody. They must be notified of their rights prior to being taken into custody or prior to being interrogated. Failing to do so may result in statements or evidence gathered based on a statement being thrown out.
What it means to be taken into custody
If an officer asks you to put your hands behind your back, there is a good chance that you are about to be placed into custody. However, being in custody typically means that you are not free to walk away from an officer or to leave any place where you are being questioned.
Age must be taken into account
The law does not simply consider a minor to be a younger version of an adult. Instead, it takes into account that a young person may be more likely to comply with requests made by an authority figure. Minors may also have a different idea of what it means to be in custody compared to an adult. Therefore, a police officer may need to inform a minor of his or her Miranda rights even if that person isn’t technically in custody.
Miranda warnings aren’t always required
It is important to note that the Supreme Court has ruled that police officers don’t necessarily have to inform minors of their Miranda rights in all cases. Therefore, a court won’t always throw out statements made by someone who isn’t in custody and doesn’t understand his or her rights. However, police officers and others will be held to a higher standard in an effort to protect the rights of younger suspects.
Regardless of your age, you are entitled to have a criminal law professional help with your case. An attorney may be able to get a case dismissed or obtain a plea deal by casting doubt on the validity of evidence gathered against a defendant.