Seattle v Pearson (Exigent Circumstances)

Seattle v. Pearson: The Court reversed Ms. Pearson’s conviction for one count of driving under the influence of marijuana and remanded for a new trial. The Court found that the trial court erred when it admitted the results of a warrantless blood test on the grounds that dissipating THC concentration in Ms. Pearson’s bloodstream constituted exigent circumstances, reasoning that the City had not established by clear and convincing evidence that obtaining a warrant would have significantly delayed the collection of a blood sample, and had not established any reason for its officer to have failed to do so. The Court further found that the trial court erred in allowing expert testimony of a per se legal limit of THC concentration that was not in effect at the time of the alleged offense, finding the evidence irrelevant and highly prejudicial. The court found no error, however, in the trial court’s rejection of a jury instruction stating that it is not unlawful to drive after consuming drugs, finding that other jury instructions and Ms. Pearson’s closing arguments allowed her to present this theory of her case.

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