State v. Raymond
Case # A151090
Full Text of Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A151090.pdf
An Oregon State Trooper stopped defendant Raymond for failing to stop when pulling out of a parking lot. During his interaction with Raymond, the trooper noticed that “the defendant was tapping his left foot rapidly, grinding his teeth, and contorting his face as well as speaking rapidly and mumbling.” The officer believed that Raymond was under the influence of a central nervous system stimulant. Raymond subsequently failed field sobriety tests, was Mirandized, and placed under arrest. While waiting for a drug recognition expert to conduct a drug recognition exam, Raymond was granted the opportunity to make a phone call, which he declined, informed of the implied consent warnings related to breath and blood testing, and took a breath test which resulted in a 0.00 blood alcohol content. During this time, the officer also informed Raymond that if he cooperated he would be given a ride home later. Raymond cooperated with the subsequent drug recognition exam which included providing a urine sample which he believed he needed to provide in order to go home that evening. After the testing was completed, the officer drove Raymond home. The entire investigation lasted no more than three hours. When the urine sample tested positive for methamphetamine, Raymond was charged with DUII.
Raymond moved to suppress the urine sample contending that his consent to the test “wasn’t fully voluntary and that the situation was coercive because defendant believed that, if he cooperated, he would be able to go home, and get a ride home.” Raymond also argued that exigent circumstances did not excuse law enforcements failure to obtain a warrant for the urine test. The State responded by arguing that collecting the urine sample was justified by multiple exceptions to the warrant requirement: “(1) in the totality of the circumstances, defendant’s consent to providing the urine sample was fully voluntary; (2) the exigent circumstances exception separately justified the search, with the exigency being the dissipation of evidence of drugs from defendant’s urine; and (3) the procurement of the urine sample was also justified as a search incident to arrest.” The trial court granted Raymond’s motion to suppress and ruled that Raymond’s consent to the search was not voluntary and that their was insufficient evidence to suggest that the chemicals thought to be in his urine would dissipate so quickly as to excuse obtaining a warrant.
The Court of Appeals states that “under Article I, section 9, an officer may conduct a warrantless search if it is justified by probable cause and exigent circumstances, one of several exceptions to the warrant requirement” and that “exigent circumstances exist in a situation that requires the police to act swiftly to prevent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall a suspect’s escape of the destruction of evidence.” In prior cases, the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Court of Appeals have held that “when police have probable cause to arrest for a crime involving the blood alcohol content of the suspect, for purposes of the Oregon Constitution, the evanescent nature of a suspect’s blood alcohol content is an exigent circumstance that will ordinarily permit a warrantless blood draw” and extended this rationale “to the dissipation of other controlled substances (drugs) in a DUII suspect’s urine.” The Court further notes that the exigency would not exist “in the rare case in which a warrant could have been obtained and executed significantly faster than the actual process otherwise used.”
The Court of Appeals determined the arresting officer “believed that defendant was under the influence of a central nervous system stimulant, and the record establishes that cocaine, a central nervous system stimulant, has a short detection time and may be eliminated from the urine within several hours or up to 12 hours of consumption.” The Court finds that these facts establish exigency. The Court further found that “this was not the rare case in which a warrant could have been obtained and executed significantly faster than the actual process otherwise used under the circumstances.” The Court ultimately states that “because exigent circumstances coupled with probable cause excused the failure to procure a warrant, we conclude that the trial court erred in suppressing the urinalysis results on state law grounds.” Therefore, the case was reversed and remanded.