Washington, DC asked in Constitutional Law for Ohio

Q: Is it legal for my lawyer to call a homeless shelter to see if I am staying there or do I have privacy rights

I was told by the shelter that they were not allowed to give out my information or tell anybody that I am resigning there they cannot give out information about me. Not even that I am staying there so can a probation officer call the shelter and ask if I am there or is he allowed to just show up he does not know where I am I keep in contact with him via phone calls and emails I just did not know if I had any rights living in a homeless shelter and if he can just call random shelters looking for me seeing if that's where I am because I haven't and I am not breaking any laws

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Ohio, as in other states, individuals generally have a right to privacy, including when staying in a homeless shelter. Shelters often have policies to protect the confidentiality of their residents, which means they typically won't disclose whether someone is staying there without their consent.

Regarding a probation officer's actions, they have certain authorities to check on the whereabouts of individuals under their supervision. However, there are limits to these powers, especially in the context of privacy rights in a shelter. The probation officer can make inquiries, but shelters are not obligated to provide information without your consent, unless there is a legal mandate such as a court order.

If you are in regular contact with your probation officer through phone calls and emails, and you are not violating any terms of your probation, this should generally be sufficient for the purposes of probation supervision.

If you have concerns about your privacy or the actions of your probation officer, consider discussing these with a legal professional. They can provide specific advice based on the details of your probation and any relevant laws or regulations.

Remember, your rights don't diminish because of your living situation. You maintain the same privacy rights in a shelter as you would in a more traditional residence.

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