A musician left a bar in which he w as performing, but then realized he needed to use the bathroom. The bar would not allow him back in (no re-entry policy) so he drove his girlfriend’s car in search of a bathroom to use. He drove without headlights and parked perpendicularly in a handicap parking spot. All of this was observed by police officers who conducted a traffic stop. Davis (the driver) appeared impaired and failed two field sobriety tests. The officers called for the car to be towed and conducted an inventory in full compliance with their inventory policy. After the inventory, when an officer went into the car to put the key in the ignition for the tow company, he found a handgun. Davis, a convicted felon, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Davis argued that the impounding of the vehicle was a Fourth Amendment violation and also the re-entry to put the key in the car was a mere pretext to an unlawful investigatory search.
The court disagreed and held the impounding of the vehicle was lawful under the community caretaker doctrine. The court further held that the entry into the vehicle was lawful as part of a properly conducted inventory.
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