My son was staying at a friend's house. The friend's parole officer came by for an unannounced visit. She smelled marijuana, so she called the police. Before the police arrived, she went in. My son had a backpack there. She asked whose backpack it was. My son said it belonged to him. He was not on parole. She opened the bag. It contained some drugs and paraphernalia, and he was subsequently arrested. My son believes the warrant came after that. Would this be considered an illegal search and seizure?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Possibly. That said he had the right to refuse to say anything but he did. So getting the evince tossed might not happen. Further, engaging criminal conduct and possessing contraband at the house was at best ill considered. If you son's record is clean he can apply for ARD.
Thank you for submitting your question,
I must agree with my colleague. Being in possession of drug paraphernalia while visiting a friend whom he knows is on parole and who receives visits from his parole officer was a bad idea to begin with.
After your son informed the parole officer that the backpack belonged to him, he should have refused to allow the Parole Officer to search his bag. But, in reciting your facts, you did not state that your son refused to allow the Parole Officer to inspect his backpack, nor did he voice any objection when the Parole Officer began to open his backpack.
Q. Was this an illegal search ?
It is really hard to tell. Although your son did not voice an objection to his backpack being searched, he was aware that he was visiting someone who was on either Probation or Parole. And, although the Parole Officer asked yjour son if the bag was his, he again voiced no objection to its being searched. Your son's silence and failure to object to a search of his backpack might very well be construed by the Court as "acquiescence to the search". Once someone has agreed to a search of his private personal peoperty, he cannot be later heard to complain when the Probation/Parole Officer's search revealed he was carrying contraband.
If your son has no prior record and this is his first offence, he might be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ("ARD"). However, ARD is a "one shot deal". He will never be eligible for acceptance into the ARD Program for another 10 years which means that if your son finds himself in trouble again, he will have to face those charges and their consequences..
ANDREA G. TILLIS
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