Legal Question (Probation)

My wife was sentenced to 1 year of probation as a result of DWI conviction. Her officer comes to our home randomly to check in on her (alcohol tests, etc.) The question is, if I happen to be (not my wife, just me) somking a little weed when the PO visits, what are her (referring to the the PO,) legal obligations? What is she required to do/not do by law? Would she take my weed and call the cops? Can she not do this because she is in my home as a result of my wife’s conviction? Waht are my rights in this situation?

RED, I think it unlikely you will find someone to answer this question for you. First, the law is probably specific to your jurisdiction (New York?). Second, you are asking advice about your rights in regard to your illegal conduct. Third, it appears like you are asking for specific legal advice, as opposed to asking a theoretical legal question. An attorney is unlikely to answer your specific question because he or she will not want to establish an attorney-client relationship with you. The fact that you appear to intend to rely on such advice means the attorney (knowing of your intent to rely) may not be able disclaim the relationship, and therefore is far better off not giving you the advice.

As for your end of it, IMO you would be very foolish indeed to rely on any advice you received over the Internet, considering that you may be faced with a potential possession charge if the advice ends up to be wrong.

Just a guess… but since the parol officer is a police officer, I am fairly certain the PO could bust you for any illegal activity since they had a reason to be there in the first place. It could also violate your wife’s parol. I know when I knew someone on parol, no one in the whole house could drink alcohol (or maybe they couldn’t have alcohol on the premises).

either way, it would be foolish and you would be better off to do it elsewhere if you are going to do it anyway.

Jodi is (as ever) right on the money. Phrasing your question as you have makes it highly inadvisable for an attorney to answer it. You’re not asking a theoretical question about the application of law to a hypothetical – you’re asking for legal advice. If I were to provide that legal advice to you, not only would I be engaging in the practive of law without a license (unless you’re in Virginia or DC) but I’d potentially be liable for my very shoddy practice of law.

However, I can tell you that if smoking a little weed is illegal in your jurisdiction, and you’re asking for legal guidance, then a logical conclusion would be: don’t smoke weed.

But I’m not your lawyer, and you’re not my client. OK?

  • Rick

My wife is not on parole. She’s on probation. Her probation officer (PO) is a county-employed social worker. That’s why I’m intrigued by this…

I’m not looking for legal advice - honestly, I don’t even smoke weed. Just curious as to her, for lack of a better term, power, while she’s on my property.

What, say, if we (my friends and I, not my wife,) were playing poker for $100 a hand? That’s illegal in almost all jurisdictions. Could she bust me for that? What if my dog is not licensed? You get the point.

I’m not trying to get away with anything. Just wondering what my rights are while this woman is on my property for my wife’s conviction.

It seems that since she is on my property reviewing my wife, search and seizure laws would apply. Or something like that?

All right, here’s a thought experiment: your neighbor, Joe Friendly, is collecting for the neighborhood block party. To do this, he goes door to door soliciting donations to rent the tent, commitments from familes about bringing food and grills, and so forth.

You invite him in to discuss whether you’re bringing hot dogs or hamburgers this year, and while he’s there, you light up a joint.

Joe is a police officer. What is the law here?

In general, whatever he sees from a place in which he is lawfully present is admissible. He was lawfully present in your home, and the marijuana was in plain sight, with its illegal nature readily apparent.

It’s admissible against you.

Again, this is not at all a comment on your first question, and not remotely intended to offer legal advice. Consult a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for that.

  • Rick

OK. Joe, the tent/hamburger guy is a cop. What is the law there? Very interesting. It’s not what I’m inquiring about, but I’d be interested in that answer as well.

With all the legal disclaimers and rigamoral, you guys are confusing me even more.

In acccordance with SD procedure, I’ll preface with this…

I want NO, again, NO legal advice.

Is there no difference between a police officer and a probation officer? As I stated before, this woman is a social worker, employed by the county. What are her rights in my home? What are mine? As far as illegal activity is concerned.

I suppose I must now say that there will be no illegal activity. This is hypothetical.


My neighbor’s name is not Joe Friendly.

Did you see the post by Jodi. There’s a reason she included “First, the law is probably specific to your jurisdiction (New York?).” The reason being that it varies by state, county and city. For instance in my state (California) PO’s in some cases have arrest powers (typically, drug related) and in some cases they don’t(petty juvenile stuff). By the way, you might want to check on that social services thing as most probation departments seem to be affiliated with the court, as in California; not social services. Also, as a condition of her probation, she should be aware of what activities she’s allowed/not allowed to be around. Btw, IANAL, most of what I know above is due to having some not so bright siblings.

Are you concerned more about your privacy rights in general, or what the PO’s obligations are? If it’s the privacy, replace the smoking weed in your OP, with violent masterbation and banna peels. I would indeed be concerned about random stops by the probation officer in that situation. In which case, maybe you should take your “violent masterbation” to the garage ;).

This is again, not legal advice and I am not a lawyer. I am , however , a peace officer in the state of NY. If your wife is supervised by a probation officer in NY, the probation officer is not a county employed social worker. She may be trained as a social worker, and may act very much like a social worker, but probation officers in NY are peace officers and have the authority to arrest for any offense commited in their presence. (It’s in the Criminal Procedure Law) There are some differences between police officers and peace officers , but in general, they go the other way- peace officers acting pursuant to their special duties sometimes have the authority to do what a police oficer may not. For example, when I supervised people, I was legally permitted to search their person , residence and possessions in situations where a police officer could not.

As far as your rights regarding illegal activity in your home- you don’t have any right to perform an illegal activity in your home or anywhere else. You do generally have a right to refuse to allow a police or probation officer into your home without a warrant- but your wife probably doesn’t have the right to refuse the probation officer entry, or even the right to live with someone who refuses the probation officer entry.