We use both our own and third-party cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. If you continue to browse, we consider that you accept the use of these.

Consent by Parents

Often officers make contact with the parents of children and wish to get consent from the parents to search property belonging to the child. When may an officer receive valid consent from a parent?

Whether a child is an adult or a minor is often the determining factor in a consent scenario.

Adult Children

Generally speaking if the suspect is an adult living with the parent, the parents’ authority is greatly reduced. If the child has a landlord-tenant arrangement with the parents, the parents may not have the ability to consent. Ask questions of the parents:

• Does the child is pay rent?
• Does the child have a lock on the door?
• Do the parents have access to the room?
• Is there an agreement that the parents will not enter the room without the child’s permission?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, the odds are that parental consent will not be valid. There was a case of a 19 year-old man who wanted to blow up a community college. He had a bolt lock on his door and the parents testified they had not been in his room in years. That is a situation where the parent’s consent may not be valid because their son lived in their house like a tenant.

If the relationship is not a landlord-tenant arrangement, parents would generally have the ability to consent to the locations that are shared. Be careful of cell phones and computers that the parents either do not access or do not control. Irrespective of who purchased or paid for the computer or phone, if the parents do not have the ability to access the mobile device they may be unable to legally consent to your search.

Minor Children

Parents have the right to consent to search everything belonging to a minor child. The minor does not even have the right to object.


  • I highly recommend this training for any Probation staff who have the necessity to interview/interrogate individuals for investigation purposes.

    —R. Bret Fidler, Santa Clara County Probation Department
  • I will continue to use and pass on this information because I really believe in the instructors and their approach.

    —Kimberly Meyer, Washoe County Sheriff's Department
  • ...Provides useful tools necessary for assessing the veracity of a suspected child abuser, which goes a long way in helping to protect children.

    —Sunny Burgan, MSSW, LCSW, Social Work Supervisor, Santa Clara County DFCS
  • Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to attend the Interview and Interrogation training presented by Paul Francois and Enrique Garcia.

    —Todd Almason, Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office
  • The information that they have presented is highly relevant to my job, and was presented in a manner that was highly organized and very easy to digest.

    —Michael McGarvey, California State Prison, San Quentin
  • This was, by far, one of the most useful classes I've attended since becoming an investigator.

    —Steven Aiello, Antioch Police Department
  • Your instructional style is engaging and your tag-team style is highly effective.

    —George Laing, Fire Prevention Captain, Investigator
  • Your class gave me the confidence and tools to interview the suspect for over 5 hours and to bring a closure to the case.

    —Daniel Phelan, San Jose Police Department
  • Your class has made the greatest and most direct impact on my assignment of any training class that I've taken.

    —Ken Gelskey, National City Police Department
  • You two are an effective teaching team, and your presentation of the material was consistently interesting, and intelligent without being too intellectualized.

    —Michele Keller, Deputy Probation Officer, County of Alameda