Willamette Law Online

Oregon Court of Appeals


State v. Pirtle

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-13-2013
Case #: A147418
Haselton, C.J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147418.pdf

Criminal Procedure: To fall within the automobile exception to the warrant requirement, the automobile must be mobile at the time the police discover that it was connected with a crime.

Defendant appealed the denial of a motion to suppress for a warrantless search of his vehicle during which officers discovered a handgun. Defendant was convicted of felon in possession of a firearm. He argued that at the time the police encountered the vehicle in connection with a suspected crime the vehicle was not mobile, thus the warrantless search did not fall within the automobile exception for a warrantless search. During the course of an investigation of a domestic dispute involving a handgun, police officers noticed a vehicle drive a short distance within the grounds of an apartment complex and then park. The vehicle was later discovered to be the Defendant's. A search of the vehicle yielded a handgun. The Court found that the warrantless search of the vehicle did not fall within the automobile exception because at the time the officer noticed the vehicle moving he had no basis to connect it with criminal activity. Reversed and remanded.