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State v. Mazzola

Court of Appeals of Oregon

December 26, 2013

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DINA LOUISE MAZZOLA, Defendant-Appellant.

Submitted on March 20, 2013.

Josephine County Circuit Court 101198M Pat Wolke, Judge

Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, and Daniel C. Bennett, Deputy Public Defender, Office of Public Defense Services, filed the brief for appellant.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, and Joanna L. Jenkins, Assistant Attorney General, filed the brief for respondent.

Before Schuman, Presiding Judge, and Wollheim, Judge, and Duncan, Judge.

DUNCAN, J.

In this criminal case, defendant appeals the judgment convicting her of driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), ORS 813.010. Defendant assigns 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). Like the trial court, we conclude that the administration of the FSTs did not violate defendant's rights under Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution[1] because it was supported by probable cause and exigent circumstances. Therefore, we affirm.

We review a trial court's denial of a defendant's motion to suppress for errors of law. State v. Ehly, 317 Or 66, 74-75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993). We are bound by the trial court's findings of fact if there is constitutionally sufficient evidence in the record to support them. Id. at 75. We state the facts in accordance with that standard.

A police officer stopped defendant for two traffic violations. During the stop, the officer noticed that defendant was exhibiting signs of intoxication. The officer observed that "her speech was slurred, her eyes were glassy, [and] her eyelids were droopy, " her movements were "slow and methodical, " and she "appear[ed] confused about her driver's license status."

The officer concluded that he "had probable cause to believe that [defendant] was impaired." Because the officer did not smell an odor of an alcoholic beverage, he believed that defendant might be under the influence of "some other kind of controlled substance."

The officer had received police training regarding alcohol and controlled-substance impairment. In addition, he was a certified paramedic and had been for 15 years. Based on his "training and experience and common knowledge, " he knew that "over time the body filters drugs and they dissipate in one's body." He also knew that "different drugs dissipate at different rates" and "the effects of * * * different drugs wear off at different rates."

The officer asked defendant if she would take a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, and she agreed. In preparation for the test, the officer asked defendant if she took any medications on a regular basis. Defendant replied that she took sleeping pills and had last taken one the previous evening.

The officer administered the HGN test, which, according to the officer, revealed "no clues of impairment." The officer was not surprised by the result because, as he explained, "different medications, different controlled substances[, ] have different reactions."

After the HGN test, the officer told defendant, "We're going to do a few more tests, okay?" and defendant replied, "Okay." The officer then administered three more FSTs: the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg-stand test, and the finger-to-nose test. After those tests, the ...


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