Consent searches in the Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment provides provisions that protect citizens from searches and seizures that are unreasonable. However, the individuals may waive their rights by consenting to searches. This essay is aimed at listing (Zalman, 2010), describing and explaining the rules regarding consent searches and providing a case study to illustrate the rules.

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When the court is called up on to determine whether consent was given for a search, it puts into consideration several issues. The first is that it considers the age, background and mental capacity of the subject. When the officer is seeking consent from the subject, he or she should not show weapons as that is considered to be coercive. In short, the officer should not use aggression to get the consent (Stephens & Glenn, 2006). The other rule is founded in the case Monroe v. Pape (1961) and which is based on the time the consent is sought. The rule requires officers to desist from seeking consents at night. Attempting to conduct a search at night is seen as evil and in a most obnoxious form (Zalman, 2010).


In conclusion, the law provides a waiver for the rights of protection from searches and seizures and the Fourth Amendment. However, the rules that govern such a waiver are so strict such that, an officer may find himself in breach easily if care is not exercised. These rules cover issues such as the mental capacity, age, time of getting the consent and the manner of soliciting such consent. As mentioned, care has to be exercised or otherwise the search constitutes a breach.


Zalman, M. (2010). Criminal Procedure : Constitution and Society, Sixth Edition. Prentice Hall.Hess, K. Orthman, C. H., & Cho, H. (2014). Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Cengage Learning.

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Stephens, O. H., & Glenn, R. A. (2006). Unreasonable searches and seizures: Rights and liberties under the law. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.: ABC-Clio. Bottom of Form

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