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Minors Rights while being detained.

San Clemente, CA |

My child (whom is 15) and his six friends (whom are about the same age) were detained at a park for being at the park after hours. Once Minors are detained, do they have the right to call their parents? The officer denied my son and his friends from doing that. Even while we were calling him, they did not allow him to pick up the phone.

Also, if minors do not consent to a search, are they still allowed to search them? The officers said they were looking for 7 juveniles in the area. However, whey they spoke on their radio, they said they had 4 detained, and had found THE 4, does this mean they are lying to us about our children matching the description?

As you can tell it was a messy situation, in the end they let our children go, only because on of the other children had answered the phone and put it in his pocket so his parents could hear the situation and get over there immediately.
The officers also said that our children were talking back, when clearly on the recording you can only hear the kids answering their questions, one kid was even yelled at for calling the deputy officer instead of deputy.

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Attorney answers 1


It is clear that you are very frustrated by how the police handled the entire situation with your son. Without more information regarding the entire situation, I cannot express an opinion as to whether or not the police violated your son's rights in this casse, however, I can provide you with some general information:

Searching Minors
Juveniles have the same 4th Amendment rights as adults when they are not on school grounds. The police cannot conduct a search of a minor without consent unless (1) the police have probable cause to believe they will find evidence of a crime, (2) they are searching the minor incident to arrest, (3) they need to conduct a search due to extigent circumstances.

Detaining Minors
If an officer has a reasonable belief that a minor has violated the law, the officer can detain the minor to conduct an investigation. During an initial detention, police are not required to let a minor call his parents. Minor's have the right to call their parents if the minor is arrested and taken to the police station or juvenile hall. The minor also has the right to have their parents present during a custodial interrogation that implicates the minor's Miranda rights.

I higly recommend that all parents of teens read the "A to Z Guide For Parents of Teens" prepared by the California State Bar. This guide is FREE and explains the rights of both parents and their children in a variety of situations. The guide is available in Spanish and English. The guidebook can be downloaded from the California State Bar web site -

Good luck with your teens!


Amanda F. Benedict
Law Office of Amanda F. Benedict
Appeals & Bicycle Accident Litigation
162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd., Suite F-20
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 942-0054 - phone
(760) 942-0055 - fax
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