Any one of us can be suspected of wrongdoing at any time. So knowing what your rights are is important for everyone. There are times when a police officer can briefly stop you to determine if you are involved in a crime or not. They have to be able to point to specific facts that tie you to criminal activity in order to do so. One way they get around this is to ask your consent to talk to them, or to search your person or belongings. There is no reason to give up your rights and consent to a search. Once you consent to a search, the police can do almost anything they want. Are you willing to bet your future that your roommate or friend did not leave something illegal in your car? Are you willing to bet your life that someone didn’t borrow your jacket and leave something illegal inside? You are under no obligation to consent to any search, and once you do, you have waived your rights. Whenever a police officer asks for your consent, you should ask him or her if you are free to leave. If the answer is yes, then leave. If the answer is no, ask to speak to a lawyer. Always be polite and respectful, but there is never a good reason to consent to a search. Once you do, you could be powerless to stop an invasive search of you, your car, or your home.