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.