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No. 2—09—0833 Opinion iled March 31, 2011 - page 12 / 24

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No. 2—09—0833

Opperman teaches that impoundments by the police may be in furtherance of “public safety”

or “community caretaking functions,” suchas removing “disabled or damaged vehicles.” Opperman,

428 U.S. at 368-69 (to permit the uninterrupted flow of traffic, disabled or damaged vehicles will

often be removed from the highways or streets at the behest of the police engagedsolely in caretaking

and traffic-control activities). In this case, defendant’s car, without proof of liability insurance, was

tantamount to a disabled vehicle because section 6—303(e) prohibited it from being operated until

proofof insurance was shown. Thus, the impoundment, as mandated bysection 6—303(e), furthered

police community-caretaking functions and was reasonable under the fourth amendment.

1. Mason

Our conclusion is consistent with Mason, which addressed a challenge to an inventory search.

At 2:10 a.m., Mason committed a traffic violation, and an of icer stopped Mason’s vehicle. Mason’s

driver’s license was revoked, he could not provide proof of insurance, and the of icer suspected that

Mason was under the in luence of alcohol. The of icer called for backup, arrested Mason, and placed

him in the rear seat of the squad car. An inventory search disclosed a substance that caused Mason

to be charged with possession of a controlled substance. Mason, 403 Ill. App. 3d at 1050. The

of icer testi ied that Mason’s revoked license and his inability to show proof of insurance meant that

the car had to be towed, which in turn required an inventory search and report. Mason, 403 Ill. App.

3d at 1050-51. The of icer explained that “ ‘state law,’ ” rather than police department policy,

mandated the impoundment. Mason, 403 Ill. App. 3d at 1052.

The trial court granted Mason’s suppression motion, concluding that Arizona v. Gant, 556

U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 1710 (2009), “ ‘is a bright line decision ’ ” that bars inventory searches. Mason,

403

Ill.

App.

3d

at

1052.

In

Gant,

the

United

States

Supreme

Court

clarified

the

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