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Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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How Illinois Law Affords Miranda Protections to Minors Too

Most people are familiar with the phrase “you have the right to remain silent.” Even if you’ve never been told those words by police yourself, watch enough television and movies and you know the drill.

“The right to remain silent” and the words that come after are what is known as your Miranda rights. You may know that, but did you also know that these rights are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States not just to adults but also juveniles?

Every parent (and their children) should understand the basics about Miranda rights, including when they should be read, what they mean, and the differences that can arise between these rights being read to an adult and a minor. Learn more here.

Miranda Rights: What Are They?

Miranda rights, also known as the Miranda warning, is your right to protect yourself against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution as well as your right to a lawyer under the Sixth Amendment.

Miranda rights were created so that even someone with no knowledge of the legal system could have a fair shot in the justice system and not be coerced by police into admitting guilt.

The History of Miranda Rights

It may surprise you to learn that Miranda rights as they are known today have only been in use since 1966 as a safeguard of your constitutional rights when you are questioned, detained, or arrested by police.

They were established by the Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona, where it was ruled that people in the custody of police must be informed that they have the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer before the police interrogate them.

When Should Illinois Police Read Your Miranda Rights?

When the police take you into custody, but before you are interrogated, you should be read your Miranda rights. In the criminal justice system, this is known as being “Mirandized.”

If the police fail to read your Miranda rights, then in court, a judge can throw out anything you said or did while in custody or during your police interrogation. It will not be used against you.

There are exceptions to this rule, but they’re very narrow. For example, a judge may not throw things out that you said or did without being read your Miranda rights in these two scenarios:

  • If it is deemed that public safety was at risk when you were questioned by police; or
  • There was an urgency to question you in order to protect the public.

What About Illinois Minors?

When anyone is read their Miranda rights, officers aren’t under any obligation to offer a detailed explanation of the rights protected by them or to answer any additional questions about your rights that you may have.

While those under 18 are routinely read their Miranda rights, there is a risk that young people will make self-incriminating statements because they simply lack the understanding of what they’re agreeing to.

, How Illinois Law Affords Miranda Protections to Minors Too

In Illinois, more juvenile-friendly Miranda rights are read to minors upon detainment or arrest. The language used is easier to understand and after the rights are read, the police ask whether they want a lawyer or wish to speak to the police at all.

Illinois minors also have the added protection of legal representation. Under Illinois law, an attorney must be present during questioning for a sex offense or murder for minors aged 13 to 15 years old. Police must also videotape all interrogations of those under 18 in felony cases.

 

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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