Maine Legal Group Logo
Main Office
Satellite Office
Consultations by Appointment Only

Court Allows Probation Condition that Waives Fourth Amendment Rights

A judge hitting a block with a gavel, representing how one can benefit from calling a Portland criminal defense lawyer.

One of the greatest protections guaranteed to you by the Fourth Amendment is your freedom from warrantless searches unless they fit within a handful of exceptions. However, prosecutors and law enforcement continually try to squeeze everything they can into those exceptions, and judges don’t want to seem “soft on crime,” so they allow it to happen.

An excellent example of this in action comes from a recent case from upstate New York, where an appeals court just rubber stamped a juvenile’s agreement to let police search him, as a part of his probation.

Teen’s Probation Included Agreement to Consent to Searches

In New York v. King, a 16-year-old with a history of drug and alcohol abuse pled guilty to a charge of attempted sexual abuse. Importantly, the charge he pled guilty to included allegations that he’d exposed his 10-year-old victim to pornography and drugs. During the sentencing phase of his trial, the defendant agreed to conditions attached to his probation.

One of these conditions was that the boy, who was still underage at the time of the appeal court’s decision, sign an agreement to waive his Fourth Amendment rights and allow law enforcement to search him, his home, and his belongings for evidence of a similar crime he’d been convicted for. This effectively gave the police his consent to search whenever they wanted, without having to go through the process of getting a warrant.

Appeals Court Finds Agreement Reasonable

Unfortunately, the court of appeals that heard the case decided that this probation condition was perfectly reasonable: It was “properly circumscribed to specified types of searches,” and was thus “tailored to suit defendant and reasonably related to his rehabilitation.”

Another Slippery Slope of Consent Searches

King is reminiscent of another case from Louisiana, dealing with how consent searches are made and what they include. That case had dealt with the scope of consent searches and began with police asking if they could search a car, but ended with them cutting open vacuum-sealed packages of fish.

The common element is where consent begins, and where it ends. The boy in King just consented to basically anything that the police choose to do in order to get probation. The result allows police free rein to bother him in his personal life and step all over the rights that everyone else is left to enjoy. According to the courts, though, making the teenager effectively a second-class citizen was fine because those searches were somehow related to the crime he had already done time for.

Maine Criminal Defense Attorney William T. Bly

Cases like these bother criminal defense attorneys everywhere, and William T. Bly is no exception. They show how important it is to vigorously defend the rights of those who have been accused of a crime throughout the process, from the arrest all the way through the sentencing and into the appeals process. Contact his law office online or by calling (207) 571-8146 if you’re facing a criminal charge in the state of Maine.


Contact our office to speak with
one of our team members who will set up a confidential consultation to discuss your case.


Great group of people. Managed to get me a favorable outcome from a very bad situation. I would highly recommend this firm if you have legal troubles. Top notch performance!!

Dave Allen

So thankful I chose this team to represent me. They’re the best, hands down. Nathan Hitchcock proved my innocence not once but TWICE, including a trial by jury. I have a family in law enforcement who told me “Bill Bly and his team are the best. If I would recommend anyone, it would be them.”

Brandon Albert





Ready to Get Started? Get In Touch With Us Today!

If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Get to Know Our Group
Maine Legal Group

We are a boutique law firm, and we stand out by prioritizing our clients’ well-being. At The Maine Legal Group, our experienced team offers personalized attention in both criminal defense and divorce cases.

The Maine Criminal Defense Group

The Maine Criminal Defense Group adeptly handles all areas of criminal defense practice, including experienced and skilled legal representation for state and federal charges.

The Maine Divorce Group

The Maine Divorce Group empowers individuals skillfully navigating divorce with compassionate guidance, ensuring a brighter future through the challenges of the process.