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Name: People v. Potter
Case #: D044290
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/19/2005
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 7/27/05

Appellant pleaded guilty to operating a chop shop, following denial of his motion to suppress. On appeal, he challenged the denial of his motion, contending that the trial court erred when it found that search of an automobile repair shop was authorized by the warrantless administrative search provisions of Vehicle Code section 2805, because the shop was not “open to the public” in the sense that customers were not invited onto the premises. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed. Neither the Constitution nor statutory law requires that a business solicit customers to enter the premises in order to permit the warrantless inspection. The search here easily met the applicable criteria for a warrantless administrative search under section 2805. The shop was operating as an auto repair business for the public, and at the time of the search it was conducting its operations in a manner that indicated it was open for business.