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State v. McMullen

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-31-2012
Case #: A144727
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A144727.pdf

Criminal Procedure: The fleeting nature of a suspect’s blood alcohol level is an allowable exigent circumstance that will ordinarily permit a warrantless blood draw when an officer has probable cause to believe the defendant is under the influence of intoxicants.

The State appealed a pretrial order that suppressed the results of a warrantless urine test conducted incident to a driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) case, where Defendant’s urine test showed she was under the influence of various controlled substances. The State argued, inter alia, that exigent circumstances made obtaining a warrant impractical, given that the rate at which the intoxicants metabolize - specifically alcohol and cocaine - which could impede an accurate sample, given that the average time required to obtain a warrant in Washington County is, at minimum, five hours. The Court of Appeals held that in light of the recent Supreme Court case State v. Machuca, the “evanescent nature of a suspect’s blood alcohol content is an exigent circumstance that will ordinarily permit a warrantless blood draw” despite occasional situations occurring where a warrant may be practicable. Reversed and remanded.