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    Speak Up! - View Question #219

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    Question: Say I can state that a person is innocent, and the police call my house to question me, but I am a minor (under 18), do the police have to ask my parents if they can question me?

    Answer: The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution protects all Americans against 'self incrimination' which means stating that you are guilty of a crime or being a witness against yourself in court.

    In all circumstances where criminal activity is the issue, whether you are an adult or a minor, and whether you are guilty or innocent, you have the right to refuse to answer questions from the police. Simply state that you decline to answer questions and hang up or leave. Stay silent after that.

    Stating things like 'I don't know anything about that.' 'I wasn't there.' 'I don't know him.' 'I was at school that day.', etc. IS answering questions. The best thing to do if you really don't want to talk is to say you want an attorney present when you're questioned (the sixth amendment to the United States Constitution guarentees that you may seek an attorney or have one appointed if you cannot afford one). Legally the police cannot ask you anything after that.

    1 thru 2 of 2 comments    [ 1 ]   
    On 02/26/04
    Dave from AZ said:
    If you have information that somebody is innocent, you should contact the police department and volunteer that information; you have a duty to do so. The police do not have to get permission from your parents to question you if you are a witness to a crime. Often, however, police will contact parents as a courtesy to let them know that they have had contact with their children. Further, police do not always have to contact parents to speak with juveniles who are suspected of a crime.
    On 02/20/02
    michelle from WY said:
    So the answer is No? Or is it yes? What you are saying is that if I don't know my rights they don't have to tell me them before they ask me any questions.
    1 thru 2 of 2 comments    [ 1 ]   

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