In this case, the operative facts are undisputed. The trial court found that, at the time of the
traffic stop, the Zion police department had an oral policy that called for impounding and towing a
vehicle if the driver had a suspended license and could not produce proof of insurance. The court
found that there was “no evidence” of a written policy to that effect, but that finding is not consistent
with Hucker’s testimony that a written policy existed. Regardless, the absence of a written
impoundment policy does not render an inventory search per se unreasonable. People v. Gipson, 203
Ill. 2d 298, 306, 309 (2003). Because the operative facts of this case are not disputed, we agree with
the parties that our review of the suppression order is de novo. See People v. Mitchell, 355 Ill. App.
3d 1030, 1032 (2005).
The State argues that the inventory search was appropriate because defendant was driving
with a suspended license and failed to show proof of insurance. Defendant responds that the
inventory search was unreasonable because the car was, in fact, insured and Hucker “failed to afford
the defendant or her 16 to 19 year old passenger an opportunity to provide proof of insurance for the
The fourth amendment “ ‘protects two types of expectations, one involving “searches,” the
other “seizures.” ’ ” Soldal v. Cook County, Illinois, 506 U.S. 56, 63 (1992) (quoting United States
v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984)). Although the parties have commingled the concepts of
search and seizure, the impoundment of the car (the “seizure”) is properly analyzed as distinct from
the inventory (the “search”). Soldal, 506 U.S. at 63-64 (one can search property without seizing it
and seize property without searching it). Both the seizure and the search must meet the strictures of
the fourth amendment.