Answer: Usually yes, but it depends on the terms of your judgment and the statutes of the jurisdiction of your case.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Can a Probation Officer Come To Your Job? (Explained)
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Authority of the Probation Officer
What the probation officer needs to do and can do is established by the court order of probation and the state’s statutes.
Many states include specific language in the probation order that states that the defendant will allow and consent to the probation officer’s visit to their place of employment and home.
If the language is not contained in the judgment to that effect, the language is often wrapped into the statutes that government the probation officer’s supervision of the defendant.
if the judgment does not give the probation officer the authority to do something, and the statutes do not, then the probation officer doesn’t have the authority.
What is interesting about the language about the home and work is that the defendant is often required to consent to the visit, walk-through, or search.
This means that the probation officer might not actually do the walk-through of the defendant objects, but such an objection could lead to a probation violation.
Probation Officer’s Intent When Visiting
However the probation officer feels about a defendant, his primary goal is to make sure the defendant successfully completes probation.
Whether that is for the good of the community, or just to lighten his workload, that’s the end goal of what the PO is up to.
To make sure the defendant completes probation, the PO needs to make sure the defendant is compliant.
When employment is a requirement of probation, the PO will have to make sure that the defendant is actually employed, and that the defendant is not using or possessing any prohibited items.
Many defendants do not want their POs to visit their work, and not because they are doing anything wrong there.
Instead, the issue is often that the defendant’s employer does not know about the defendant’s conviction and probation, and there is legitimate concern that the revelation could cost the defendant his job.
Probation Officer’s Behavior
If a defendant is concerned about losing his job because of his probation officer’s visit, it would be best to talk to the probation officer early on about it.
The probation officer would generally prefer to see his probationers employed rather than not, unless there is something particular about the job that is problematic (like people there are involved in illegal activity).
If the probation officer tells the defendant’s work that defendant is on probation for a criminal conviction, the probation officer hasn’t disclosed anything that is not public record, and would not constitute slander, so long as the probation officer doesn’t make false statements.
Since the charges, the facts of the case, and the conviction details are public record (usually all recited in the sentencing hearing), even telling the employer what happened wouldn’t be actionable from a confidentiality standpoint.
The probation officer does not have the duty of confidentiality that the defendant’s lawyer does.
Can A Defendant Stop The Probation Officer From Contacting An Employer, or Control What The Probation Officer Says?
If the judgment and the law authorizes the probation officer to contact a defendant’s employer, then the defendant won’t be able to do anything about it.
Bets practices for the defendant are usually to do the best possible job on probation, try and maintain the peace with the probation officer, and hope for the best.
Some defendants might take the extra step to disclose the existence of the conviction and probation to the employer in advance to control the narrative, appear more trustworthy, and remove any surprise/embarrassment on the employer’s side.
If a defendant feels like the probation officer is going out of his way to harass the defendant, or is acting in bad faith, he should confer with his lawyer to go over his options for how to deal with the situation.
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