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What You Need to Know About Probation Searches in California

February 28, 2019

The right to search without a warrant depends on the type of probation 

What You Need to Know About Probation Searches in CaliforniaAs a general rule, Americans are protected from warrantless searches and seizures.  The Fourth Amendment grants us this right, with some exceptions, such as in the case of emergencies.  However, if you are convicted of a crime, you may lose this right while you are on probation.  This is a period of time that you are on supervision after being convicted of a crime. Being on probation requires you to comply with a number of conditions.  Depending on the type of probation you are on, that may include complying with warrantless searches of your home.

As an experienced criminal attorney Rancho Cucamonga, CA can explain, there are two types of probation in California: formal and informal.  Formal or supervised probation requires you to check in regularly with a probation officer.  It generally is ordered in cases where a person is convicted of a felony offense.  Informal or summary probation is usually ordered when a person is convicted of a misdemeanor.  In contrast to formal probation, informal probation typically does not require checking in with a probation officer.  Instead, a person will usually have to report on their progress to the court.

A typical condition of formal probation is waiving your right to deny a search of your home or car while you are on probation.  In other words, if your probation officer stops at your home, he or she has legal authority to search your house or your vehicle — without a warrant.  Importantly, the officer can only search the areas of the home that your normally use, such as your bedroom, the bathroom, and other common living spaces.  If you have a roommate or if there are areas of the house that you do not use, then your probation officer will need a warrant to search those rooms.

Informal probation does not require you to give up your protections against warrantless searches and seizures.  According to a seasoned criminal attorney Rancho Cucamonga, CA, a probation officer cannot search your home without a warrant or without your consent if you are on informal probation.

It is important to note that not every person on formal probation will have a condition that will require them to consent to warrantless searches of their homes and vehicles.  If you are on formal probation, ask your criminal attorney Rancho Cucamonga, CA to explain the conditions of your probation so that you understand your rights.

The Chambers Law Firm has substantial experience representing clients who have been charged with a range of California offenses.  Contact our firm today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to learn more about how we can help if you have been charged with a crime, or to schedule a free initial consultation with a criminal attorney Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

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