State v. Bliss

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 02-23-2017
  • Case #: A157214
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The Oregon automobile exception applies to any lawful stop of a moving vehicle if an officer develops probable cause to search for contraband or evidence.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for one count of delivery of marijuana. Defendant assigned error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress the marijuana found during the warrantless search of his vehicle after he was stopped for speeding. On appeal, Defendant argued that the automobile exception to the warrant requirement was only applicable to vehicles lawfully stopped for investigation a crime, and did not apply to lawful stops for traffic violations. The State contended the warrantless search was lawful under the Oregon automobile exception (State v. Brown, 301 Or 268, 273-79, 721 P.2d 1357 (1986). Brown established that searches of a moving vehicle are lawful if the officer has probable cause to believe the car contains contraband or other “crime evidence." The Court of Appeals held that regardless of whether a car is stopped for a traffic violation or for a crime, the Brown automobile exception applies to any lawful stop of a moving vehicle if the officer develops probable cause to search for contraband or evidence. Affirmed. 

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