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State v. Fuller

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-12-2012
Case #: A147286
Brewer, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A147286.pdf

Criminal Law: The evanescent nature of drugs in a suspect’s body creates an exigent circumstance that will ordinarily permit a warrantless urine sample. However, if a warrant could have been obtained and executed faster than the time it took to process the suspect and obtain a urine sample, the warrantless seizure of that sample is unconstitutional.

The State appealed the trial court’s decision to suppress the results of a warrantless urine test, renewing its argument that the evanescent nature of controlled substances in a suspect’s urine establishes an exigent circumstance that justifies obtaining a warrantless urine test. Defendant was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants after his truck was involved in a hit and run collision. Defendant consented to a Breathalyzer test and blew a 0.0 percent, and then consented to give a urine sample that tested positive for Oxycodone. Defendant sought to suppress the urine sample arguing there was no exigency that justified taking a warrantless sample. The trial court agreed, relying on testimony at the suppression hearing that drugs can be detected in urine for ten to forty-eight hours and that the police should have obtained a warrant. The Court held that an exigent circumstance existed justifying the warrantless urine test because the officers had probable cause to believe that Defendant had ingested a controlled substance and evidence at the suppression hearing established that certain controlled substances change rapidly in urine. Reversed and remanded.