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Can a Probation Officer Search My Home Without a Warrant? And More Free Legal Q&A – Free Joe 2/26/13

with 2 comments


On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Joleen: Can a probation officer come into someones home and search for someone without a search warrant. Its been done 2 times now and they say they will be back Looking in my closets etc.

Joe Escalante: You will probably have no luck preventing this kind of entry. However, even if they find piles of crack cocaine and permitless exotic pets in your closets, without a warrant, they could not get that admitted into evidence against you. So at least you don’t have to look for new hiding places for that kind of stuff.

Mieka: Hi there, a question for Joe Escalante: What recourse does an individual have if their employer is treating them as an independent contractor, but they fit squarely within the legal description of “employee”? Is a complaint to the IRS appropriate? A lawsuit? What might be the outcomes (and the time frame) be for such recourse? Thanks!

Joe Escalante: This is a very good question Mieka. Call the state labor commissioner’s office and file a complaint as a misclassified employee. It happens all the time. There are also lawyers that take those cases if the circumstances are ripe for the lawyer to make some money, e.g., if there were multiple misclassified workers for a class action.

Hans: can you collect ssi.disability..and unemployment at the same time? Wisc.

Joe Escalante: To be eligible for ssi you must be looking for work. To be eligible for disability, you must be unable to work. When ssi runs out, you could apply for disability if you have some new condition, perhaps one that only allows you to work part time.

Anne: We live in Missouri and have a leash law. One neighbor has a dog that they let run loose. Their last dog was hit by a car and killed, but they did not learn from that. The dog delicates in my yard and digs large holes in two yards across the street. I have started transferring the feces over to their yard with a shovel. The elderly woman across the street is afraid that her husband is going to trip in one of the holes and really hurt himself. We have talked to the neighbors to no avail. We have called animal control, but they get the dogs in before they show up. They also take advantage of when we are sleeping or away from the house so that they don’t get “caught”. My elderly neighbor is more frustrated than I am and with good reason. The feces is annoying, but the hole are threatening. She is looking for advice to get this to stop before we get into mowing season.

Joe Escalante: I think you know the answer here and it has to do with getting good evidence in front of a cop and eventually a judge. Most people in your shoes set up a surveillance camera or two to get what would be required. Without evidence the authorities don’t know who to believe. Neighbors make stuff up all the time. Good luck.

Jake: I get charged for a street light that lights up the neighbors driveway, is this legal?

Joe Escalante: Never heard of such a thing. It sounds like taxation without illumination.

Hallie: My niece who is 12yrs. old was left home for a week with her sixteen year old step sister. She called me crying saying that she was running away because her dad told her she couldn’t come to my house and her step sister was hurting her. (Also there is a long history of her dad abusing her that was never reported and medically neglecting her) I called CPS to find out if I could go pick her up even though her dad didn’t want her (for no reason other than to hurt me) to come to my house. But I feared for her safety as it was ten O’clock at night, cold and snowing. Her dad was three hundred miles away gambling. He texted me telling me not to let her come to my house and he didn’t care if she was on the streets. Then he texted me telling me that he didn’t care if she never came home. So cps told me i could then go pick her up. Well her dad found out the next day that she was at my house. He sent my mom to my house to pick her up and supposedly gave her power of attorney… even though she is married to a registered sex offender with an offense to a child. I refused to send my niece out to her. So she called the police and had the officer come to my house. I didn’t try to hide my niece because cps told me i could go get her. And when the officer showed up at my house i let him in and explained the situation and showed him the text messages from my brother. He was extremely rude to me, treated me like a criminal, laughed at me, and told me that i could go to jail for harboring a runaway. I explained to him that there is a cps report and an open cps case, i explained to him that my mom is married to a registered sex offender, i was nice and compliant, he continued to scare my niece and tell her that she had three choices, she could go home, go into cps care, or go to juvenile. She said can i go to a foster home or cps care and the officer laughed at her and told her too bad she doesn’t get to make any choices. Was he legally allowed to remove my niece from my care?

Joe Escalante: Some cops are too stupid or lazy to handle anything but the basic facts in front of them. The cop was told there is a runaway minor. He found her, so he takes her. It’s probably proper procedure. The parents could have said a similar story to yours. Without a court order, they don’t have to listen to you. You need to petition the court for custody to get all this in front of an actual family court judge.

Joleen: Can a probation officer come into someones home and search for someone without a search warrant. Its been done 2 times now and they say they will be back Looking in my closets etc.

Joe Escalante: You will probably have no luck preventing this kind of entry. However, even if they find piles of crack cocaine and permitless exotic pets in your closets, without a warrant, they could not get that admitted into evidence against you. So at least you don’t have to look for new hiding places for that kind of stuff.

Mieka: Hi there, a question for Joe Escalante: What recourse does an individual have if their employer is treating them as an independent contractor, but they fit squarely within the legal description of “employee”? Is a complaint to the IRS appropriate? A lawsuit? What might be the outcomes (and the time frame) be for such recourse? Thanks!

Joe Escalante: This is a very good question Mieka. Call the state labor commissioner’s office and file a complaint as a misclassified employee. It happens all the time. There are also lawyers that take those cases if the circumstances are ripe for the lawyer to make some money, e.g., if there were multiple misclassified workers for a class action.

Hans: can you collect ssi.disability..and unemployment at the same time? Wisc.

Joe Escalante: To be eligible for ssi you must be looking for work. To be eligible for disability, you must be unable to work. When ssi runs out, you could apply for disability if you have some new condition, perhaps one that only allows you to work part time.

Sheila: Joe ~ I have a few different questions on the same topic. How do I go about asking /filing for visitation for my son if I have a legal guardianship through the foster care system/family court in Missouri and the guardian refuses to acknowledge me, doesn’t answer my calls, texts, letters, fb msgs. I signed the paperwork in August of 2010 since then I have had very little contact with my son. The case with the children’s division is closed because I signed voluntary guardianship over to his paternal aunt/uncle. If I want thr court to order visitation or to revoke the guardianship will the case be reopened as well? Would I go through probate or family court to ask for visitation? Thank you.

Joe Escalante: You are going to have to file a petition to modify the custody arrangement. As long as you haven’t permanently terminated your parental rights, this should be possible. I’m not sure if they will open the old case or start a new one but you need to get your story in front of a judge and bypass these people that are ignoring you.

Patricia: I live in Illinois. I slipped on some ice in the parking lot of the nursing home I work at. They don’t put salt down when it’s icy. They claim it ruins their floors. Are they responsible for keeping the parking lot clear of any ice? I slipped and slightly fractured my tail bone. Can this be an OSHA issue?

Joe Escalante: ou need a consultation with a personal injury attorney in your area. There are tons who would want to talk to you. Choose one that can demonstrate some kind of prior success in this specific area of practice.

Greg: Why is it that any legal issues that you can get forms for from online companies, cannot be used by people in Louisiana? You would think that the companies that produce these for the other states, would be able to make one for us.

Joe Escalante: Each state makes up their own rules regarding legally acceptable documentation preparation services, but I am not familiar with Louisian’s limitations. I do know that Legalzoom offers documents for Louisiana residents.

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February 28th, 2013 at 5:29 am