MA: Car was reasonably impounded when it would have to be left at 4:30 am in a high crime area

After defendant's arrest in another's car at 4:30 am in a high crime area, it was reasonable under the circumstances to impound the car. There were risks in leaving it and there was nobody to drive it off. Also, it was reasonable not to call the owner at that hour to come and take possession of it. Commonwealth v. Eddington, 2011 Mass. LEXIS 40 (March 10, 2011): … Although we need not examine the reason of the police officers for not attempting to contact Rodriguez, the reason for not doing so – the early morning hour – provided a sound basis for their decision. We also find significant the facts that Eddington was unable to operate the automobile because he had been placed under arrest (for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license) and Cappas had been drinking and was not known to be authorized to drive the automobile. See Coleman v. State, 1983 OK CR 101, 668 P.2d 1126, 1130 (Okla. Crim. App. 1983), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1073, 104 S. Ct. 986, 79 L. Ed. 2d 222 (1984) (impoundment justified where driver placed in custody and passenger had been observed drinking beer). Cf. Commonwealth v. Ellerbe, supra at 775-776 (impoundment justified in part based on fact that driver was arrested and passenger had no license with her); Commonwealth v. Daley, supra at 750 n.4 (impoundment justified in part because vehicle could not be turned over to third person). Nor was the vehicle's registration produced. See G. L. c. 90, § 11 ("Every person operating a motor vehicle shall have the certificate of registration for the vehicle … and his license to operate, upon his person or in the vehicle, in some easily accessible place …"). Cf. Commonwealth v. Daley, supra at 750 (impoundment justified in part because vehicle was unregistered, uninsured, and had attached plates belonging to another vehicle). All these reasons, together with the interests protected by conducting an inventory search as well as the "the proposition that an officer's judgment in the matter is to be tested by what reasonably appeared to him at the time, rather than to us in long afterthought," Commonwealth v. Sanchez, 40 Mass. App. Ct. 411, 415, 664 N.E.2d 868 (1996), support impoundment. We thus conclude that the police acted reasonably in deciding to impound the automobile in the circumstances.

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