State v. Miller

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-10-2014
  • Case #: A152279
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In order to initiate a valid DUII search under the state and U.S. Constitutions, a police officer must have probable cause, a subjective belief that is objectively reasonable, that the driver being searched was driving under the influence of intoxicants; the officer may rely on a totality of the circumstances, including his own experience and judgment, to form this probable cause.

Defendant appealed his DUII conviction, claiming that the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence was an error of law. On December 25, 2011, Defendant was stopped for speeding by Officer Bergstrom. After observing a number of factors that he believed suggested intoxication, including aggression, poor short-term memory, and driving impairment, Officer Bergstrom performed field sobriety checks and charged Defendant with DUII. On appeal, Defendant argued that Bergstrom did not have probable cause to issue the sobriety checks because his belief was not objectively reasonable. The Court, using a totality of the circumstances inquiry, determined that the officer’s belief was objectively reasonable despite the evidence of any physical indications of intoxication. Affirmed.

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