Revoking a consent to search in the military

Revoking a consent to search in the military

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We occasionally get asked whether military members can revoke a consent to search. The answer is yes. The sooner you revoke the consent to search the better.

In a case last year, a service member had a conviction reversed because he revoked consent to search.

The court gave a very nice summary of the scope of consent. They wrote:

"The scope of a consent search or seizure is limited to the authority granted in the consent and may be withdrawn at any time. M.R.E. 314(e)(3), 316(c)(3); see United States v. Dease, 71 M.J. 116, 120 (C.A.A.F. 2012)."

We usually advise revoking consent in writing. It's a simple memo stating that you "hereby revoke previously providing consent to search [location] on [consent date]." The key is to make the revocation clear and unambiguous.

We previously wrote in detail on the subject here.