Understanding your rights as an accused criminal is critical because a violation of these rights could be an important defense for any charges you are currently facing. One of the exceptions that allows law enforcement officers to search your vehicle, your person or your home without a warrant or without any probable cause is your consent. This is an exception to not having probable cause.
It is an exception to an officer not having a search warrant. In the event that you provide consent directly to a law enforcement officer, they are allowed to do this legally even if there is no basis for the search. If you are sitting in your car and a police officer walks up to you and asks you if he or she has the right to look inside your trunk and you allow them to do so, any evidence obtained in that search is legal and can be admitted in court. This is different from other situations in which your consent was not provided and in which there is no warrant or other probable cause would prompt an officer to request this information.
One other thing to be aware of is that law enforcement may use what is known as a knock and talk. This means that they will come to your home, knock on your front door and ask for the permission to search your home. This permission can be given in a written or oral manner and in many cases, the law enforcement officer requesting you to sign a document establishing that you provided consent. They can search and seize whatever they want inside your home and if you are connected to those seized illegal items, you could be arrested for possession of those items.
Even without a search warrant, without probable cause, and there being no legal way for an officer to get into your home, if you consent to the search, they are legally there. It is important to realize that you do have rights when it comes to officers requesting to search your personal belongings or your home without probable cause. Consulting with an attorney can help you if you have already been accused of violating the law.