The Hive Law

What Can A Probation Officer NOT Do? (Startling Facts You Need To Know)

What Can A Probation Officer Not Do - Can A Probation Officer Search Your House - Can A Probation Officers Arrest You

What can a probation officer NOT do?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • what a probation officer can and cannot do
  • if they can tell you where to live
  • if they can search your house
  • if they can (or will) arrest you
  • if they can search your phone or computer
  • if they can search your roommate’s rooms
  • what to expect when they come to your house

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

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What Can A Probation Officer NOT Do?

Things that probation officers cannot do depends on the jurisdiction they work in.

Some things that a probation officer cannot do are:

  • date or develop a personal relationship with the probationer
  • meet with the probationer outside of probation meetings
  • make verbal or physical sexual advancements
  • arrest the probationer (in some states)
  • carry a firearm (in some states)
  • lift a warrant
  • plant illegal drugs in your house during a search
  • terminate your probation
  • change the terms of a court order
  • interfere in the judicial process
  • provide legal advice
  • accept bribes or any other form of payment
  • make decisions on the outcome of a case

Things That Your Probation Officer Can Do

Your probation officer can:

  • keep you from moving
  • keep you from leaving the state
  • show up at your work, house, or known locations at any time
  • search your home, phone, computer, or car at any time based on reasonable suspicion
  • put a violation of probation warrant out for your arrest
  • keep you from hanging out with anyone they deem a bad influence on you
  • force you to attend treatment programs (i.e., mental health or drug rehab programs)
  • hit you with random drug testing
  • keep you from owning a phone or computer (if you’re a sex offender)

FAQs About What A Probation Officer Cannot Do

Let’s look at all of the things a probation officer can and cannot do more in-depth.

Can A Probation Officer Arrest You?

A probation officer’s ability to arrest you depends on the state you live in.

There are three scenarios you could face are your probation officer:

  • arresting you
  • calling the Sheriff’s Department to come to arrest you
  • submit a violation of probation warrant for your arrest

Here’s an example of probation officers being able to arrest you differing per jurisdiction.

Statewide, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia probation officers:

  • are unarmed
  • do not make arrests

In Washington County, Philadelphia, P.O.s are armed and can make arrests.

In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, P.O.s are armed, but cannot make arrests.

Can A Probation Officer Search Your House?

Yes, a probation officer can search your house.

They can search your house:

  • without a warrant
  • without probable cause
  • based on reasonable suspicion alone

When you’re on probation, you temporarily lose your Fourth Amendment rights.

The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures.

To search your house, the PO just needs to get permission from their supervisor.

POs can work with law enforcement to give them information from their search of your house.

The police will have POs search your house if they think there is criminal activity going on.

This allows police to bring criminal charges for new crimes against you without a warrant.

Can A Probation Officer Tell You Where To Live?

A probation officer cannot tell you where to live.

But they can tell you where you cannot live.

They can determine:

  • who you are not allowed to live with
  • where you’re not allowed to live
  • that you’re not allowed to move on probation

Let’s say that your probation officer tells you where to live or where you can’t.

And that you don’t follow their orders for where to live.

Then you are violating the terms of your probation.

Violation of your probation leads to the revocation of supervised probation.

Meaning that you can go to jail for the remaining period of probation.

For violation of your probation, you will get arrested.

You will have to remain in jail until your probation violation hearing.

Can A Probation Officer Search Your Phone?

Yes, a probation officer can search your phone.

They do not need a warrant to search your phone.

The US vs Wood case changed this law.

POs no longer need a warrant or reasonable suspicion to search your phone.

They can search your phone as they wish.

Can My Probation Officer Search My Parent’s Room?

In most states, your probation officer cannot search your parent’s room.

They can only search rooms in the house that are:

  • under the control of the probationer
  • common areas (i.e., living room, garage, kitchen, etc.)

The probation officer will likely ask for consent to search the entire house.

Your parents can deny consent to the probation officer searching their rooms.

But, the probation officer can then:

Can My Probation Officer Search My Roommate’s Room?

In most states, your probation officer cannot search your roommate’s room.

They can only search rooms in the house that are:

  • under the control of the probationer
  • common areas (i.e., living room, garage, kitchen, etc.)

The probation officer will likely ask for consent to search the entire house.

Your roommates can deny consent to the probation officer searching their rooms.

But, the probation officer can then:

  • search anyways (this could lead them to get in trouble)
  • come back with a police officer and a warrant

What Is The Latest Time That A Probation Officer Can Come To Your House?

A probation officer can come to your house at any time.

There are not any limitations on the times that a probation officer can come to your house.

Your probation officer can come to your house at any time per the conditions of your probation.

What Is Considered Harassment From A Probation Officer?

Things that are considered harassment from a probation officer are:

  • sexual advances (verbal or physical)
  • unprofessional, flirtatious behavior (i.e., gift-giving, meeting outside of the office, etc.)

Some things that are NOT harassment from a probation officer are:

  • showing up to your job unannounced
  • showing up at your home in the middle of the night
  • scheduling more frequent meetings
  • becoming more strict
  • searching your house or phone repeatedly
  • showing up at your known locations (i.e., family’s house, girlfriend or boyfriend’s house, etc.)

What Is A Probation Officer?

Probation officers are supervisors of those placed on probation.

They make sure that the probationer is not a danger to the community.

They can work in either juvenile or adult probation.

And they help the probationer rehabilitate and become a productive member of society.

Types Of Probation

The types of probation are:

  • Intensive Supervision Program. This has strict conditions of supervision, house arrest, and 10+ in-person meetings per month.
  • Shock Program. This has a prison sentence followed by standard probation for the remaining period of time.
  • Community Control. This is the strictest probation. You are serving a prison sentence outside of jail. You’ll have 24/7 monitoring, ankle trackers, and house arrest.
  • Supervised Probation. This will have regular meetings with your probation officer, community service, and drug tests.
  • Unsupervised / Non-Reporting Probation. This is for low-risk offenders. You’re required to pay fines and stay out of trouble. Technical violations will land you in jail.

The criminal justice system:

  • uses court-ordered probation instead of making people serve prison sentences
  • will add special conditions for those with serious crimes (i.e., ankle monitors)
  • will be easier on first-time criminal offenses that are misdemeanors

Let’s say that, while on probation, you get caught with:

  • contraband
  • controlled substances
  • weapons
  • drinking in public or DUIs

The Department of Corrections will send you back to jail for these technical violations.

You will need a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in defending probation violations.

Fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.

And get free legal advice on how to avoid getting in trouble.

What Does A Probation Officer Do?

Let’s dig more into what a probation officer does.

So that we know what a probation officer can and cannot do.

Probation Officer Duties

A probation or parole officer’s duties include:

  • evaluating the progress of probationers
  • recommending rehab, treatments, and mental health to the courts
  • providing counseling
  • preparing and maintaining files on the probationer
  • implementing and tracking court-ordered services (i.e., AA, substance abuse, etc.)
  • administering alcohol and drug testing
  • making probation violation submissions to the court
  • helping probationers reintegrate into society
  • reporting probation violations
  • submitting probation violation warrants for arrest
  • making sentencing recommendations to the court

What To Expect When A Probation Officer Visits Your Home

During a home visit, a probation officer will look for:

  • unexplained changes in your financial situation (i.e., delinquency on bills)
  • symptoms of mental health issues
  • substance abuse relapses
  • signs of the need for help with substance abuse, mental health, and violence
  • signs of returning to criminal activities

Let’s say that they suspect you are in a substance abuse relapse.

You’ll need to prove to them without a reasonable doubt that you are not.

Otherwise, they will send you to rehab to stay on the safe side.

Do Probation Officers Come To Your House?

Yes, a probation officer will come to your house.

For serious crimes, they will frequently do in-home visits and search your house.

For less serious crimes, they will show up just to make sure you still live there.

They may just leave a door hanger on your front door and have you call them that day.

That proves to them that you have not moved.

What Are Probation Violations?

Some common probation technical violations are:

What Rights Do You Have When You Are On Probation?

When you are on probation, you still have civil rights.

But, when you’re on probation, you lose your rights to:

  • move freely – you are confined geographically unless you have permission to travel
  • privacy – you lose your privacy as POs can search your computer, phone, and home
  • firearms – you are not allowed to own or possess a gun
  • assembly – you have to avoid certain people, especially those with criminal histories

Knowing What A Probation Officer Cannot Do

If you are facing a probation violation, fill out the form on this page.

Our criminal defense attorneys have the experience you need to defend your rights.

This way, you don’t:

  • get wrongfully convicted of probation violations
  • spend years or decades in jail needlessly
  • miss seeing your family or loved ones for years
  • get wrongfully accused of a violation by probation officers

You deserve a fair trial in the criminal justice system.

We can provide you with that.

Talk soon.

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