What is a “Fourth Waiver” and How does it affect me?
A person on a Fourth Waiver has given up their right to refuse a search by law enforcement. The term comes from the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits warrantless searches or seizures of people and their belongings. A person with a Fourth Waiver is someone who has waived their Fourth Amendment rights. Most Parolees have Fourth Waivers, as do many Probationers, typically those with convictions for drugs, theft, or weapons. Most of the time the Fourth Waiver expires when probation ends or parole is discharged.
Law Enforcement (police, CHP, border patrol, probation, parole, etc) have the right to search the person, their belongings, their car, and their residence any time, whether the subject of the Fourth Waiver gives consent or not.
If you are driving or riding in a car with a person on a Fourth Waiver, be aware that your car is subject to search. If you live with someone who is on a Fourth waiver, be aware that any part of your home that the person has access to is subject to search. All common areas, shared bedrooms, closets, etc are fair game.
Remember, a person on a Fourth Waiver still has their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, and so must still be read their Miranda rights.
Important Note: If an officer does not KNOW you are on a Fourth Waiver, they cannot search you, even if you are actually on a waiver. So DO NOT VOLUNTEER your Fourth Waiver status. Don’t tell them unless they ask you, or look it up. But do not lie about it if it comes up.