Here’s a law-school hypothetical for you: Suppose a gang-banger is pulled over for having expired tags on his car. He has no driver’s license, and records show that he has repeatedly driven without a license. The protocol in such situations is to impound the car to prevent him from driving unlicensed again, and the impoundment search reveals that he has guns hidden in the car. He is arrested, patted down, and his possessions seized to secure officer safety during his transportation and booking.
Now suppose that police officers take the gang-banger’s car out of the impound yard and drive it around looking for his confederates and for more evidence against him. Can they use the car for this purpose?
If you’re like most people, you probably think the answer is: “No.” But can you say why?