Suppose Alice and Bob are co-owners of a home. Police come to the door and ask to search the home. Bob says, "yes, you may search our home," but Alice says, "no, you may not search our home without a warrant." Do the police have valid consent to search the home without a warrant? In practice, I expect the police might wait for Alice and Bob to come to an agreement, but let's suppose that both Alice and Bob maintain their positions. Can the police search the home based on Bob's consent even though Alice denied consent?

The jurisdiction I'm primarily interested in is the U.S. (Utah if it is state-dependent), but I'm also interested in other jurisdictions.

(I found this related question which indicates that if the police reasonably believe that someone with authority gave consent, then the search is valid even if the person giving consent didn't actually have authority. I believe my question is different because the linked question doesn't address if the police have mixed messages regarding consent)

  • Nevermind, I re-read that answer more carefully, and I see that it does answer my question (as you point out in your answer below). Sorry for not reading more carefully 😅
    – T Hummus
    Feb 27, 2023 at 5:22

1 Answer 1


Although the question is different, the answer to the other question actually contains the answer to your question.

As ruled by the Supreme Court in Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103, "a physically present co-occupant’s stated refusal to permit entry renders warrantless entry and search unreasonable and invalid as to him".

One occupier's clear objection based on Fourth Amendment interests cannot be overridden by the consent of another in this case. A disputed consent should not be resolved by the police, but by a judge.

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