Do police have to follow the same guidelines during a search whether it’s by consent or warrant?

If police believe here is stolen property in your vehicle and you consent to search, do the same rules apply as if he hod a warrant? Or can he search through everything looking for any possible reason to convict you?

Asked on July 28, 2014 under Criminal Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In a consensual search, the police are  limited to what a reasonable person would assume the consent included.  So if a person said to the police, "you may search my car," that would usually be understood to mean they could look through the  car and any box, containers, etc. in it, and use anything they find.

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