CO: Impoundment of car legally parked in residential neighborhood unreasonable; no community caretaking need

Defendant was arrested, and his vehicle, lawfully parked in a residential neighborhood, was unreasonably impounded and towed. There was no community caretaking function need. People v. Thomas, 2021 COA 23, 2021 Colo. App. LEXIS 268 (Feb. 25, 2021). Syllabus by the court:

A division of the court of appeals considers the novel question whether the community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement permits a police officer to impound a vehicle whenever the driver is arrested and no one else is present to take custody of the vehicle. The division concludes that the answer is “no.” Because the prosecution here did not show that the seizure furthered a valid community caretaking function, impounding the legally parked vehicle from a residential neighborhood was unreasonable. The evidence discovered during the subsequent inventory search of the vehicle was therefore inadmissible. Accordingly, the division reverses the defendant’s convictions depending on that evidence.

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