On Probation in Arkansas? So long, Constitution!

probationWe all know police need probable cause to conduct a search of your vehicle and a warrant to conduct a search of your home. Well, they usually do, anyway. If you are on probation or parole in Arkansas, however, you have probably waived these requirements and given written consent for law enforcement to search your home or car at any time without a warrant. If this sounds scary, it is. It may not be as scary as prison, but it’s scary.

In exchange for not being incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Corrections, many people are given the option for probation. (For more information about some specifics about probation in Arkansas, click here or here.) If they are incarcerated, they may be released early by satisfying the conditions of parole. When someone is given parole or placed on probation in Arkansas, they must abide by certain conditions. One of these conditions is that you agree to allow your car or home to be searched without probable cause and without a warrant.

This means that the police no longer need probable cause to search you or your vehicle, and they do not need a warrant to search your home. During the time you’re on parole or probation, you have basically waived your right to any protection under the 4th Amendment. If you think it’s strange that you can actually waive your right to protections in the Constitution, you’re not alone: It is strange.

In normal circumstances, if police have a lead or hunch that some type of illegal contraband is within a person’s home, they would need to gather evidence and present that evidence to an Arkansas judge. The judge would then issue a warrant if he or she believes that probable cause exists. With a search waiver, police just need to decide what time they would like to stop by and take a look inside your home. You might as well give them your car keys and house keys.

The good news is that even if you have signed a search waiver, you have certain defenses against police abuse of that waiver. An Arkansas Criminal Defense Lawyer can walk you through the steps to know whether you can fight the search.

If you feel you or your property was unlawfully searched, even if you are on parole or probation, give us a call today to speak about your case and any possible defenses you may have.

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