Is It Legal In Texas To Question A Minor Without Parental Consent?
If you've got teenagers, this one's for you...
Picture this: You're sound asleep. It's 3 a.m. As far as you know, the kiddos are snoring away down the hall. Suddenly, your cell phone rings. Your frantic 14-year-old is crying on the other end from the police station downtown. It turns out, they snuck out the window to meet up with some other teens from school to smoke a joint and share a bottle of vodka someone stole from their grandpa's liquor cabinet. It was only supposed to be a little fun, but something went very wrong when one kid decided to get behind the wheel for a joy ride. Now, the cops are involved and looking for answers.
You immediately realize that you've never actually explained to your kid just how important it is to ask for a lawyer before speaking to the police. You weren't prepared for this kind of scenario. You tell yourself, "Surely the detective will wait for me to get there before they try to get to the bottom of this. He's only 14. They'll need me present, right?"
In Texas, it is perfectly legal for law enforcement to question a minor without parental consent. Of course, that doesn't mean things will always hold up in court. Defense attorneys often argue that a child's lack of maturity during questioning should be thrown out, when it comes down to it. But, you never know how things could actually pan out. It's all case by case, and it's definitely worth having a conversation about with your minor.
Hopefully, you'll never have to handle something like this at all. But, it's better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to talk to your children about how to handle things in the event they find themselves on the wrong side of the law.