PART 4 of 5: Vehicular Searches Without a Warrant. Inventory Searches.

In South Dakota v. Opperman, the Supreme Court outlined three
justifications for allowing law enforcement officers to inventory lawfully impounded property without first obtaining a warrant.

First, there is a need for law enforcement to protect the owner’s property while it remains in police custody.
Second, an inventory protects the police against claims or disputes over lost or stolen property.
And third, an inventory is necessary for the protection of the police from potential dangers that may be located in the property.


  1. The vehicle must have been lawfully impounded.
  2. The inventory search is conducted in accordance with a standardized inventory policy aimed at accomplishing the justifications for
    inventory searches.

The search must not extend beyond the boundaries reasonably necessary to discover valuables or other items for safekeeping.

Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM | Criminal Defense and Business Law
(619) 357-6677

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