Code of the District of Columbia

§ 23–526. Limitations on consent searches.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term "consent search" means a search of a person, vehicle, home, or property:

(1) Based solely on the subject's consent to that search;

(2) Not executed pursuant to a warrant; and

(3) Not conducted pursuant to an applicable exception to the warrant requirement as described in United States or District of Columbia case law, excluding the exception for consent searches.

(b) When seeking to perform a consent search, sworn members of District Government law enforcement agencies shall:

(1) Prior to the search of a person, vehicle, home, or property:

(A) Explain, using plain and simple language delivered in a calm demeanor, that the subject of the search is being asked to voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently consent to a search;

(B) Advise the subject that:

(i) A search will not be conducted if the subject refuses to provide consent to the search; and

(ii) The subject has a legal right to decline to consent to the search;

(C) Obtain consent to search without threats or promises of any kind being made to the subject;

(D) Confirm that the subject understands the information communicated by the officer; and

(E) Use interpretation services when seeking consent to conduct a search of a person who:

(i) Cannot adequately understand or express themselves in spoken or written English; or

(ii) Is deaf or hard of hearing; and

(2) If the sworn member is unable to obtain consent from the subject, refrain from conducting the search.

(c) The requirements of subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to searches executed pursuant to a warrant or conducted pursuant to an applicable exception to the warrant requirement.

(d)(1) If a defendant or juvenile respondent moves to suppress any evidence obtained in the course of the search for an offense prosecuted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the court shall consider an officer's failure to comply with the requirements of this section as a factor in determining the voluntariness of the consent.

(2) There shall be a presumption that a search was nonconsensual if the evidence of consent, including the warnings required in subsection (b) of this section, is not captured on a body-worn camera or provided in writing.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a private right of action.