After getting in trouble at school, your minor child was questioned by police. You were not present, and your child was scared and started talking.

What are your child’s rights?

Under 705 ILCS 405/5-401.5, your child’s statement is presumed inadmissible as evidence if an officer or other public official takes your child’s statement during a custodial interrogation without first reading your child his or Miranda rights. The officer must then ask: (A) “Do you want to have a lawyer?” and (B) “Do you want to talk to me?”

Further, any statement your minor child makes as a result of custodial interrogation conducted at a police station or other place of detention is presumed inadmissible as evidence unless the custodial interrogation is electronically recorded, and the recording is substantially accurate and not intentionally altered. Recording is only required for certain offenses such as felonies and misdemeanor sex offenses. An unrecorded statement may still be admitted under certain circumstances, such as when 1) electronic recording was not feasible, 2) your child spontaneously says something that wasn’t responding to a question, or 3) your child asks to talk without being recorded.

A statement made without the above safeguards may become admissible if the state can show by a preponderance of the evidence that the statement was voluntarily given and is reliable based on the totality of the circumstances.

Whether the above safeguards apply may depend on if your child is considered to be “in custody.” The above law defines “in custody” as “any interrogation (i) during which a reasonable person in the subject’s position would consider himself or herself to be in custody and (ii) during which a question is asked that is reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.”

If your child has been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your child’s case for its best possible defense. Was your child in custody? Did the police follow proper procedures? Can the state prove all the elements of your child’s offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if your child’s confession is admissible, an attorney can help protect his or her rights going forward and may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your child’s behalf.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See also In re Jose A.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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