Is probable cause needed to identify probationers? 4 Answers as of June 13, 2011

Two people are sitting in a car in a public park's parking lot, eating lunch (at 1 pm) and doing paperwork. Law enforcement drives into the park and stops behind the previously noted couple's car, blocking them in. A deputy then approaches the car, asking for ID. Once identified, the deputy learns both are probationers with 4-way search clauses so he executes a search of both people and their car, finding drugs and paraphernalia. The pair is arrested. The police report says they approached because "the suspect's car was parked in 2 spaces" (which is untrue and there is a witness willing to testify to that fact). Did law enforcement need VALID suspicion or cause to approach the couple and ask for ID? I figure that once identified as probationers with 4-way search clauses, the couple loses their 4th Amendment rights, but what about before law enforcement knows they're dealing with probationers? Don't they need a VALID reason/suspicion to approach in the first place? And if it can be proven that the cops fabricated the story about why they approached in the first place, could all of the evidence gathered thereafter be suppressed?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
There is nothing illegal about the police merely approaching a car as long as they don't detain the person without legal cause. Once they contact them they can ask for id. Of course no one is obligated to talk to the police at any time.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/13/2011
The English Law Firm
The English Law Firm | Robert English
Generally, if you have a probation condition that requires you to submit to search and seizure, it would be difficult to contest a search. You have to remember also that there is nothing to prevent any police officer from walking up to any person and engaging you in conversation. These circumstances may not even rise to the level of a "Terry stop" which is a brief investigative detention. The officer only needs a reasonable suspicion for an investigative detention. A good faith suspicion, even if mistaken, will suffice.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/10/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
No. Police are entitled to request your identification, and ask if you are on probation. You lie, it is a crime. Of course you can fight it. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. You certainly face potential jail and fines, so handle it right. Effective plea-bargaining, using those defenses, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it. Go to trial if it can't be resolved with motions or a plea bargain. There is no magic wand to wave and make it all disappear. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict and jail you. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/10/2011
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
Cops can always approach someone and ask, "Are you on probation?" If the answer is yes, then 4th Amendment goes out the window.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/10/2011
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