- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
- Date Filed: 09-20-2017
- Case #: A158187
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Shorr, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant appealed from a conviction of delivery of methamphetamine, ORS 475.890. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence. On appeal, Defendant argues that because the vehicle was not moving when the officer first encountered it, the mobility requirement of the automobile exception for warrantless searches had not been met. In response, State argued that the vehicle was “mobile”, and was subject to the automobile exception because the officer saw Defendant drive the vehicle near the time the officer developed reasonable suspicion. Under Article 1, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, a warrantless search is considered unreasonable unless an exception to the warrant requirement can be established. State v. Meharry, 342 Or 173, 177 (2006). The automobile exception allows an officer to "search a car without a warrant, if the officer has probable cause to believe the car contains evidence of a crime and the car is mobile at the time they stop it." State v. Anderson, 361 OR 187, 189 (2017). The Court of Appeals determined that while the vehicle was not moving when the officer initially saw Defendant, the "relevant ‘encounter’" occurred when the officer's observations of Defendant caused him to develop reasonable suspicion that Defendant’s vehicle was “connected to” the criminal activity. The Court held that since the officer had reasonable suspicion when he saw Defendant move the vehicle, it was mobile for the purposes of the automobile exception. Affirmed.