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Name: People v. Shafrir
Case #: A125880
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/14/2010

The validity of an impound and inventory search of a vehicle is judged by the Fourth Amendment standard of reasonableness. After arresting appellant for driving under the influence, the two California Highway Patrol Officers decided to remove and store the new luxury automobile appellant had been driving. The officers testified that the decision was initially based on the fact that the vehicle was a brand new Mercedes parked in a neighborhood known for high crime. During the subsequent inventory search of the vehicle, the officers found marijuana and a large amount of cash and changed their authority for removal of the vehicle from the “safekeeping” provision of Vehicle Code section 22651, subdivision (h) to the “seizure of evidence” provision of Vehicle Code section 22655.5. The appellate court upheld the search, observing that applying the Fourth Amendment standard of reasonableness to inventory searches is constitutionally permitted. Here, the officers’ reasons for impounding and searching the vehicle met the Fourth Amendment’s criteria of reasonableness.