Law Enforcement Liability – Courts Say “Go” and “No Go” to Vehicle Tows Under the Community Caretaking Rationale
If you’re a peace officer employed by a CIRSA member, you can readily imagine this scenario: You arrest the driver of a vehicle on a warrant – you impound the vehicle for safekeeping – you perform an inventory search – you find illegal drugs and weapons and charge the defendant – and the evidence is admissible in court because the impoundment was constitutional under the community caretaking rationale.
Easy enough, right? In fact, if you’re a veteran officer, you’ve probably experienced this or similar scenarios several times in your career. After all, vehicle impoundments are a common occurrence and can be a potential source of liability. And one other thing: If you’ve been following court decisions on law enforcement activities, you’ve noticed there has been a slew of appellate court decisions in recent months on the constitutionality of impounding vehicles under the “community caretaking” rationale.
For more information about how the courts in these recent cases have narrowed the use of the community caretaking rationale, which in turn has broadened your entity’s risk exposure, read our Blog Post.