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State v. Craig

Court of Appeals of Oregon

April 12, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JENNIFER RENEE CRAIG, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted February 21, 2017

         Deschutes County Circuit Court MI140050 Alta Jean Brady, Judge.

          Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, and Sarah De La Cruz, Deputy Public Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Offce of Public Defense Services, fled the brief for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Jeff J. Payne, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Sercombe, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Flynn, Judge pro tempore.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for DUII, ORS 813.010(1), assigning error to the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence that, she contends, resulted from the unlawful extension of an otherwise lawful traffc stop by a state trooper. On appeal, defendant argues that the trooper unlawfully extended the traffc stop beyond the point at which he had completed an investigation into whether defendant was a driver who left the scene of an accident and failed to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, ORS 811.700. Held: The trial court properly denied defendant's motion to suppress. Reasonable suspicion supported the trooper's detention of defendant to investigate the crime of failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged. The trooper's further continuation of the initially lawful stop to investigate DUII was justifed under a totality of the circumstances because the odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle, along with additional evidence of intoxication, was suffcient to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that defendant had been driving under the infuence of intoxicants.

          FLYNN, J., pro tempore

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for DUII, ORS 813.010(1). She assigns error to the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence that, defendant contends, resulted from the unlawful extension of an otherwise lawful stop by a state trooper. We conclude that the officer had reasonable suspicion to continue the stop to investigate the crime of DUII after the initial basis for the stop dissipated. Accordingly, we affirm.

         We review the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress for errors of law, but in doing so we are bound by the trial court's findings of historical fact that are supported by evidence in the record. State v. Hensley. 281 Or.App. 523, 525-26, 383 P.3d 333 (2016). We also presume that the court made any implicit factual findings that are necessary to support its ultimate conclusion, and we are bound by those necessary, implicit findings if they are supported by the record. Id. at 526. We describe the pertinent facts according to that standard.

         On a December night, an Oregon State Trooper stopped defendant, who was driving a silver and maroon Subaru, for operating an unsafe vehicle, ORS 815.020, after he observed her driving with a flat right front tire and travelling at about 18 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone. In addition to processing the traffic infraction, the trooper also investigated whether defendant's car had caused recently reported property damage at a nearby accident scene. The trooper had received a report of the accident less than 15 minutes before spotting defendant. The report described a silver and maroon Subaru, possibly with a flat tire, driving away from an accident scene that was approximately one and one-half to two miles away in the direction from which defendant had been traveling. A sheriff's deputy arrived during the stop and told the trooper that the car involved in the accident had driven off the road, causing some damage to plants and possibly to a fence.

         Defendant had two passengers in her car and told the trooper that her tire was flat because she had hit a rock. During an initial investigation, the trooper observed some scratches on the front of defendant's car and some weeds underneath the front bumper, but no "major body damage." He took some photographs and instructed defendant that she needed to wait for the arrival of a third officer who had been sent to inspect the crash scene. The duration of the stop from the inception to the time the third officer arrived lasted between nine and 12 minutes. When that third officer arrived, he compared the damage to defendant's car with the information he had gathered from the crash site.

         While the third officer inspected defendant's car, the trooper spoke with defendant and smelled "an odor of alcohol coming from the inside of the vehicle." In an attempt to rule out other sources of the odor, he asked if anyone in the car had been drinking and asked if anyone was wearing perfume. The answer to both questions was "no." The trooper talked with the second officer and learned that he also had smelled an odor of alcohol coming from the car.

         When the third officer finished inspecting defendant's car, the three conferred and decided that defendant probably was not the person involved in the crash. At that point, the trooper shifted the focus of the stop to investigating whether defendant had been driving while intoxicated. He performed field sobriety tests that led to defendant's arrest and, ultimately, conviction for DUII.

         On appeal, defendant renews her argument that the evidence of DUII resulted from an unlawful extension of the traffic stop. Defendant does not dispute that the stop was initially lawful, based on probable cause that defendant was committing the offense of operating an unsafe vehicle and reasonable suspicion that defendant had failed to report that her vehicle caused the reported property damage.[1]Defendant argues, however, that the officers extended the duration of the stop beyond the point at which they had completed their investigations related to those original, lawful bases, and that the officers lacked reasonable suspicion of DUII to justify the extension. See State v. Sherman, 274 Or.App. 764, 773, 362 P.3d 720 (2015) (explaining that, when officers have an initial lawful basis for a stop ...


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