Argued: September 12, 2018
Darrick X. Banda, Esq. (orally), Law Offices of Ronald W.
Bourget, Augusta, for appellant Christopher J. Martin
Christopher Almy, District Attorney, and Chris Ka Sin Chu,
Asst. Dist. Atty. (orally), Prosecutorial District V, Bangor,
for appellee State of Maine
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Christopher J. Martin appeals from a judgment of conviction
for operating under the influence (Class D), 29-A M.R.S.
§ 24ll(l-A)(B)(1) (2017), entered in the trial court
(Penobscot County, Jordan, J.) after a jury trial.
Martin contends that the motion court (A Murray, J.)
erred by finding that exigent circumstances justified two
warrantless blood draws and denying his motion to suppress
the evidence of his blood-alcohol level derived from the
second blood draw. We affirm the judgment.
The following facts are taken from the court's findings
on the motion to suppress and are reviewed for clear error.
State v. Cote, 2015 ME 78, ¶ 9, 118 A.3d 805.
In the early morning of October 11, 2016, an officer of the
Bangor Police Department initiated a traffic stop after
witnessing Martin's vehicle twice fail to stop at
flashing red traffic lights. The officer noted that Martin
was slurring his speech. When asked if he had been drinking,
Martin said that he had consumed only a single drink four to
six hours earlier. After he performed poorly on several field
sobriety tests, the officer arrested Martin for operating
under the influence.
At the time of the arrest, Martin was in possession of a
large amount of money, which the officer began counting on
the hood of the police vehicle in Martin's presence.
Martin regularly interrupted the counting process and
repeatedly requested that the money be counted again in what
the officer believed was an attempt to prolong the time it
took to complete the count. Once the money was counted, the
officer transported Martin to the Bangor Police Department to
conduct a breath test. Review of the record, including a dash
camera video, indicates that approximately one hour passed
between the initial vehicle stop and Martin's arrival at
the police department.
Upon arriving at the police department, the officer performed
the requisite mouth check and removed Martin's false
teeth in preparation for a breath test. The officer then
attempted to complete the required fifteen-minute monitoring
period to ensure that Martin did not belch, as belching may
cause residual alcohol to be present in the mouth that could
affect the results of a breath test. Martin belched during
the first monitoring period, requiring the officer to restart
the period. Martin belched during a second waiting period and
complained of indigestion, although he had not exhibited any
signs of digestive upset until that point.
After Martin belched again during a third waiting period, the
officer decided to take Martin to Eastern Maine Medical
Center (EMMC) to perform a blood draw. The officer testified
that he informed Martin that "because of [Martin's]
indigestion and belching, we'd be completing a blood
draw." The officer testified that Martin responded
"okay" and was "compliant." The officer
knew that a prompt blood draw improved the accuracy of the
test results and was important in OUI investigations.
At EMMC, the officer gave Martin a consent form and told him
that it would have to be signed for the blood draw to be
completed. Martin complied with the officer's
instructions and signed the form. After the blood draw,
Martin was transported to the Penobscot County Jail. Shortly
after arriving at the jail, the officer received a call
informing him that Martin's blood draw may have been
contaminated by the use of an alcohol swab. The officer
transported Martin back to EMMC. Martin remained compliant
and signed a second consent form before another blood draw
was completed. More than two hours had elapsed between the
traffic stop and the second blood draw. The officer never
sought a search warrant for the purpose of drawing
On October 16, 2016, Martin was charged by complaint with
operating under the influence. Martin filed a motion to
suppress the evidence from the second blood
draw. After a hearing on July 17, 2017, the
court (A Murray, J.) denied the motion, concluding
that exigent circumstances justified the warrantless blood
The matter proceeded to a jury trial on January 17, 2018.
Following the jury's guilty verdict, the court
(Jordan, J.) entered a judgment of conviction and
sentenced Martin to a term often days in the county jail,
$890 in fines and surcharges, and a three-year suspension of
his right to operate a motor ...