The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens' privacy in their “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” This protection applies to searches and seizures by the government or by someone else at the direction of the government. To search a protected area, such as a car or home, the government must get a search warrant. A search warrant is issued by a judge to authorize law enforcement officers to search a particular location and seize specific items. There are exceptions to the warrant requirement which allow the government to search citizens' cars and homes. One of these is if the person gives their consent to the search.
To get a consent waiver, an officer will not likely ask specifically, “will you waive the warrant requirement and allow me to search your car/home?” Rather, if it's a home, an officer may ask, “may I take a look around?” or imply that there is danger and he wants to “make sure everything is safe.” Or, if it is a car, the officer may just ask straightforwardly, “may I search your car?” In these instances, a person should be aware that the officer is seeking a consent waiver to the warrant requirement. Should you refuse to allow the officer to search your car or home, the officer will need to either violate your Fourth Amendment Rights, obtain a warrant, or find another applicable exception to the warrant requirement.
If an officer does proceed to search an area like a car or home without consent or a warrant, your defense attorney may make a motion in court to ‘suppress the evidence' found because of that search. This means that anything found by the officer during that search may not be allowed to be used against you. Sometimes this will lead to the dismissal of all charges against you.