When Can Police Conduct a Search?

January 22, 2013

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from performing unreasonable searches and seizures of people and their property. Ultimately, this means that the government must have a valid explanation in order to inspect a citizen’s belongings. If police officers have consent, they can legally conduct a search.

A person may give authorities the permission, or consent, to search his home, vehicle or even himself. Police officers will generally ask a person for consent in situations where they do not have legal reason to search. In these scenarios, a person may decline the request because the officers do not have compelling reasons for inspection. A person must grant the consent freely and voluntarily in order for it to count. Under no circumstances, however, are the police required to inform a person that he has the right to refuse the search.