If an officer asks if he can search your property (your car, your house, your pockets), it means that he knows that he doesn’t have legal cause to conduct that search. Therefore, the only thing that may lay between you and your arrest is your response to the officer’s request. You have a right to privacy, but your voluntary consent will waive that right.
However, recent case law reaffirms that if a suspect was intimidated into giving consent, then the consent wasn’t in fact voluntary and the evidence seized as a result is inadmissible.
The Fifth District Court of Appeals recently threw out the evidence against a defendant charged with drug offenses, finding that her consent to search her car “was not voluntary where she was surrounded by three officers, officer implied that she might be charged with a felony and taken to jail, and the scene was illuminated by the headlights and stop lights of four police cruisers.” State v. Deemer, 2015-Ohio-3199.
Two takeaways: (1) Never consent to a search; (2) If you’re charged with a crime, contact an attorney as soon as possible.