State v. Martinez

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 06-18-2014
  • Case #: A150536
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A request for legal counsel is evaluated under the totality of the circumstances and may be based on what a reasonable officer would have believed. Asking to speak to an attorney only in direct response to an offer of privacy to call an attorney prior to a breath test would not have been understood by a reasonable officer as an invocation of defendant’s right to counsel.

Defendant was twice arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) in the same night. Defendant moved to suppress statements made after both of his arrests. This motion was denied when the trial court found defendant’s testimony not credible and that defendant had never communicated a desire to speak to an attorney unequivocally. Defendant appealed the denial of his motions to suppress, arguing he invoked his right to counsel, officers violated this right by questioning him without counsel, and that this violation requires suppression of evidence. The state responded that no reasonable officer would have understood that defendant was invoking his rights to an attorney, as opposed to requesting privacy to consult with an attorney about whether to take a breath test. The Court held a request for counsel must be evaluated considering the totality of the circumstances. In this case, the circumstances, as supported by evidence in the record, show a reasonable officer would have understood defendant was invoking his limited right to obtain legal advice before deciding whether to submit to a breath test. Affirmed.

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