Willamette Law Online

Oregon Court of Appeals


State v. Mazzola

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-26-2013
Case #: A148224
Duncan, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Wollheim, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148224.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Under Article I, section 9, an officer can conduct field sobriety tests (FSTs) if the tests are justified by probable cause and exigent circumstances.

Defendant appealed the judgment convicting her of driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII). Defendant assigned error to the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence resulting from a police officer's warrantless administration of field sobriety tests (FSTs). Under Article I, section 9, an officer can conduct a warrantless search if it is justified by probable cause and exigent circumstances. The officer testified to Defendant's various physical symptoms that he concluded were signs of intoxication. These symptoms provided the officer with probable cause to conduct FSTs. In State v. Nagel, the court defined exigent circumstances as those situations "that require[] the police to act swiftly to prevent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall a suspect's escape or the destruction of evidence." Given the "evanescent nature" of controlled-substance intoxication, the court found the warrantless administration of the FSTs in this case were justified by exigent circumstances. Therefore, the administration of the FSTs did not violate Defendant's rights under Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution because they were supported by both probable cause and exigent circumstances. Affirmed.