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Joseph
Joseph, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7280
Experience:  I have 15 years experience in the legal field, currently specializing in criminal and family law
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My 17 year old son was just put on probation. As a condition

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My 17 year old son was just put on probation. As a condition of his probation, he had to agree to submit to unwarranted search and seizure. The problem is, he still lives at home with me and his mother. We have done nothing wrong and feel like our rights are being violated. Can the probation officer search our entire house without a search warrant? Or is it only his bedroom and common areas of the house, such as the living room and kitchen? Is there anything we can do to protect our rights?

Unfortunately, this is a standard condition of probation and it has been upheld as constitutionally viable by the courts. In other words, this condition will be with your son for as long as he is on probation.

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As to the parameters of a search, law enforcement is permitted to search everything that is exclusively or partially under his control. As you suggested, this would include his bedroom, his bathroom and any common areas such as a living room, dining room and kitchen.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So what about the bedroom that my wife and I share? What about a storeage part of the house that is locked and he doesn't have a key. Is there no way to keep him from searching my entire house? I feel like my rights are being stomped on big time. Are there no ways at all to protect myself or my wife? Can he just show up at anytime?

No, they would not be able to search the bedroom shared by you and your wife or any other areas over which your son has no control. As to the timing, at least in theory, they can search whenever they want, that's part of being on probation. Having said that, probation officers simply do not have the time to effectuate searches on a regular basis. With that in mind, it would be unusual for a probationer to be subject to even one search, let alone multiple searches.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.


O.K.- one final thing. My wife and I work odd hours and some late night hours. If the probation officer comes in to do a search ( I get that it would probably be very unlikely) if the doors are shut to all the rooms in the house except for his bedroom, the living room bathrooms etc. Would this be sufficient enough to keep him from searching those rooms unless he has a very very good reason? What about vehicles, would he only be able to search the vehicle that my son drives consistently, or could he search all 5 of our vehicles? Plus I really don't like having any "man" inside my house when my wife is in the bed, I just don't think that is right. Are there protections for her in place? I'm just looking at all the angles. This is all new to me and I need to know where I stand. I have nothing to hide, but it is just the principle of it all. Nobody in my family has ever broke the law before except for maybe a few speeding tickets.

What normally occurs in a situation such is this is the officer would ask the probationer about each room and whether he has any control over that room. Assuming your son indicates that the room is your bedroom (as an example), then the officer would not search that room. And, of course, as your son is a minor, it would certainly be presumed that he resides in his parent's home and does not have control over the entire home. This reasoning would extend to vehicles as well.

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Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.
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