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State v. Petterson

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 04-24-2013
Case #: A146379
Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Sercombe, J; and Brewer, J., pro tempore.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146379.pdf

Criminal Procedure: After the appearance of new information which vitiates probable cause, an investigation must cease.

Defendant Petterson appeals his conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII). Bend Police Officer Gault stopped Petterson after attempting to validate his vehicle registration and discovered the registration tags had expired per Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records. However, when Officer Gault approached Petterson's car, he found current, DMV-issued tags. Officer Gault testified that DMV records are not always current. In spite of this, Officer Gault proceeded to confirm the tags by requesting Petterson's license and registration, and subsequently observed signs of intoxication and cited him for DUII. Petterson assigns error to the trial court denying his motion to suppress evidence on the grounds that probable cause dissipated upon seeing his current tags. The Court of Appeals agreed with Petterson, holding that no reasonable factfinder could conclude that Officer Gault subjectively believed that Peterson more likely than not committed a traffic violation after seeing the valid tags. The stop was therefore unlawfully extended, and the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress. Reversed and remanded.