Can My Probation Officer Search My House Without a Warrant in Los Angeles?
Most people know that, in general, the police must have a warrant to search a house without consent in Los Angeles. This is a federal constitutional right and is mirrored in the California state constitution.
However, when you are placed on probation, your rights are diminished. You might notice increasing visits from your probation officer where they search your person, your house, or even your car. This can be stressful, especially if you are worried about a probation violation.
So, what are your rights? Can your probation officer search your house without a warrant in Los Angeles? The short answer is yes.
Unsupervised vs. Supervised Probation
In California, there are two different categories of probation: unsupervised and supervised.
Unsupervised probation is common in misdemeanor cases or for low-risk offenders. If you are unsupervised, you don’t have a probation officer. This means you won’t need to check in at the probation office or deal with a probation officer showing up at your door.
Supervised probation is more common in felony cases. When people are placed on supervised probation they report to a probation officer for regular meetings. This could be anywhere from once or twice a month to multiple times per week.
The judge can also impose specific restrictions and requirements for your probation, such as:
- Submitting to drug tests
- Mandatory home visits
- A curfew
- Not hanging out with certain people
- Avoiding certain places
- Notifying your probation officer when you move
- Finding or maintaining employment
- Finding or maintaining housing
- Refraining from possessing weapons
- Taking self-improvement courses, like anger management or drug rehabilitation
It is up to your probation officer to make sure that you are adhering to the requirements of your probation. Your lawyer should explain all of the requirements before you leave jail.
You Have Limited Rights While on Probation in Los Angeles
When you are placed on probation in Los Angeles, your rights are limited. Just because you are no longer incarcerated doesn’t mean you get the same rights as someone who isn’t on probation. While you have more freedom than in jail, probation is an in-between period when you only begin to get some rights back.
Limited Right to Privacy
The reason that your probation officer can search your house without a warrant is that you have a limited right to privacy while on probation. The United States Supreme Court and many federal courts have confirmed that probationers have limited privacy rights.
When you are placed on probation, you agree to certain conditions as terms of your release. One of the conditions is that you will submit to a warrantless search of your person or home at any point in time. This consent gives your probation officer the right to search your home in Los Angeles. In return for your consent, you get the freedom to serve the remainder of your sentence outside of jail.
In practicality, most probation officers will only search your home occasionally and will not search your home for just any reason. However, if they are suspicious that you are violating probation and will find evidence of the violation in the home, they may choose to search.
They can also search your home if they suspect you have committed another crime. You should be prepared for your probation officer to come in at any time.
What If I Live With Other People?
If you live with other people, your probation officer can most likely search the entire home, including shared spaces, not just your room.
This is because when you are placed on probation, your probation officer gets permission from the other residents for you to live with them. Usually, the other residents need to sign a waiver consenting to a search at any time. Many people are unwilling to give up this right, which is why it can be difficult to find a place to live when you are on probation.
An Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Can Explain Your Options
If you are currently under probation and have questions about your rights, reach out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer for legal help. An attorney can protect your interests and make sure that law enforcement doesn’t take advantage of you.
Contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Law Firm of The Rodriguez Law Group Today For Help
The Rodriguez Law Group – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 460, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States