THE RIGHT TO REFUSE CONSENT
Under most circumstances, the 4th Amendment requires the Government to obtain a warrant or command authorization based upon probable cause before searching a servicemember's home, car, computer or bodily fluids. You do NOT have to consent to such searches! If you have already provided consent for the Government to search any of these areas, you can withdraw or take back your consent at any time.
REMEMBER: In most cases, giving consent to search your person or your belongings will assist investigators and prosecutors build the case against you.
IMPORTANT NOTE #1: If you provide consent to search your person or belongings, law enforcement personnel will no longer be obligated to have probable cause to search, they will no longer be required to seek a warrant to search, and any evidence that is found pursuant to a consensual search WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU. In many instances, if you refuse to consent to a search, there will be no search because the invetsigators lack actual probable cause to get a warrant.
IMPORTANT NOTE #2: If you believe providing consent to search your computer is fine because you have deleted the type of material investigators are looking for, think again. In most instances, it is near imposible to fully delete information from your computer once the material is there. Though you will not be able to access the material once you delete it, the material is still there and law enforcement officials are specially trained in the use of computer programs designed to find material on your hard drive that you have attempted to delete.
CONCLUSION: If you are asked to give consent to search your person or your belongings, you should immediately ask to speak to an attorney. There is no substitue for consulting with an experienced, aggressive defense counsel. In many instances, your freedom depends on getting the right advice from the right lawyer.