What Rights Does My Child Have When Being Questioned?
The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16. This means that anyone under the age of 16 needs a parent or guardian’s permission or supervision for certain things. If you are the parent or guardian of a child younger than 16, and the child gets arrested or bought in for questioning, there’s only so much the police can do without you there.
It is not illegal for the police or other law enforcement to question a minor without a parent or guardian present. They are technically allowed to do so. That being said, any information they obtain from this questioning is not admissible in court. Neither is any evidence that they find based on the information.
For example, if your child knows about a crime and gets questioned about it, any answers they give cannot be used in court to build a case against the alleged criminal. Similarly, if your child knows the location of any evidence, such as a weapon or cell phone, the police cannot admit that evidence in court even if they do find it.
Who Can Question My Child When I’m Not There?
The same applies if your child is the one being accused of a crime. However, it’s important to note that this only applies to law enforcement. If your child is questioned by a teacher, principal, or other member of a school staff, any information gleaned from that conversation can be used in court, so long as the staff member isn’t working with the police.
Another loophole that is commonly exploited is when a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) questions a child without a parent or guardian present. By the time you’re old enough to get a driver’s license in Oklahoma, you’re old enough to speak to law enforcement without a parent or guardian. However, if you’re driving with a permit at age 15, and the person supervising you is not your parent or guardian, the OHP can question you.
What happens is they pull you over for a routine traffic offense, so long as they can find one. Then they either give you a warning or write you a ticket. After that, they tell you you’re free to go. Those are the magic words. It means you’re no longer required to speak with or otherwise interact with the OHP officer. However, they may then ask if you’d mind answering a couple of questions for them. Any answers you give them are admissible in court.
If you are the parent of legal guardian of a child younger than 16, and they have been questioned by law enforcement without you present, it’s important that you contact an Okmulgee defense attorney to ensure that any information they gave is not admissible in court.
Free Consultation with an Okmulgee Defense Attorney
The defense attorneys at Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee can help you understand your child’s rights in this situation. If your child hasn’t been questioned yet but is expecting to be, make sure that you’re there. It will also help to have a lawyer on your side. These matters can be confusing and frustrating. You need someone who can help you make sense of it all and approach the situation properly. For a free consultation with an Okmulgee defense attorney, call (918) 756-9600 or fill out the form at the top of this page.