In most states, underage drinking and curfew violations are classified as status offenses. That means that if an adult committed these acts, they would not be considered illegal, but they are forbidden for minors. In the eyes of the law, minors who are accused of status offenses are entitled to some, but not all, of the protections given to adult criminal defendants.

The police are generally allowed to take a minor into custody if they have reasonable cause to believe the minor needs supervision, has violated a court order, or is in public and appears to need medical attention. It’s a permissible formality to fingerprint a minor who has been taken in this way.

But the fact that your child’s rights – commonly referred to as Miranda Warnings – were never read to him may be a problem for the prosecution. In some states, status offenders may not be forced to incriminate themselves and must have the Miranda warnings read to them before the police can question them. But this is often true only if the minor faces the possibility of detention.

See also…

Criminal Law, Arrests, Traffic Tickets