State v. Martinez-Alvarez

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-08-2011
  • Case #: A144728
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton, P.J. for the Court; Armstrong, J.; & Sercombe, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

An officer is not required to obtain a warrant prior to administering a breath or blood test, unless an objectively reasonable officer would know that a warrant could be issued significantly faster than the time elapsed between probable cause and administration of the breath or blood test at the time the officer had probable cause.

Defendant failed a field sobriety test, but an hour and a half passed before a breath test was administered. The trial court granted defendant’s motion to suppress the results of the breath test because the state failed to prove that the alcohol would have dissipated in the time it would have taken to obtain a warrant. Two days before the state appealed, the Oregon Supreme Court overturned the case that the trial court relied on when it granted the motion to suppress. Under the new rule described in State v. Machuca (Machuca II), it is not a burden on the state to prove alcohol would have dissipated before a warrant could be issued. Instead, due to the evanescent nature of blood alcohol content, it is presumed that there is insufficient time to obtain a warrant prior to a breath test, except in a “rare case.” A rare case is determined by whether an objectively reasonable officer would have known at the time of the DUII stop and arrest that a warrant could have been obtained significantly more quickly than the time between the determination of probable cause and the administration of a breath test. The Court of Appeals vacated the trial court’s decision and remanded it for reconsideration in light of this new rule.

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