Considered On Briefs On April 24, 2017
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT BEADLE
COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE JON R. ERICKSON Judge
J. JACKLEY Attorney General CAROLINE A. SRSTKA Assistant
Attorney General Pierre, South Dakota Attorneys for plaintiff
K. WHEELER Huron, South Dakota Attorney for defendant and
GILBERTSON, Chief Justice.
Hi Ta Lar appeals his conviction and sentence for
unauthorized ingestion of a controlled substance
(methamphetamine). Law enforcement required Lar to produce a
urine sample without first obtaining his consent or a
warrant. Lar argues the circuit court erred by denying his
motion to suppress evidence produced through chemical
analysis of the sample. We reverse and remand.
and Procedural History
On January 26, 2015, at approximately 10:55 p.m., Lar was a
passenger in the rear seat of a vehicle that was stopped for
an inoperable headlight. Due to the driver's nervous
appearance, law enforcement deployed a drug dog, which
indicated a controlled substance was present in the vehicle.
Law enforcement searched the vehicle and discovered a metal
pipe and 0.498 ounce of marijuana in a seat pocket behind the
front passenger seat. No controlled substances were found on
Lar. Lar, the driver of the vehicle, and two other passengers
were subsequently arrested for possession of two ounces or
less of marijuana and for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Following the arrest, law enforcement required Lar to provide
a urine sample. An officer watched Lar urinate into a
specimen cup. Law enforcement did not obtain a warrant or
Lar's consent prior to doing so. Subsequent testing by
the State Health Lab detected metabolites of methamphetamine
in Lar's urine. Lar filed a motion to suppress the
results of the urinalysis, but the circuit court denied the
motion. In total, Lar faced one count of possessing two
ounces or less of marijuana in violation of SDCL 22-42-6, one
count of unauthorized ingestion of a controlled substance in
violation of SDCL 22-42-5.1, and one count of possessing drug
paraphernalia in violation of SDCL 22-42A-3.
Lar agreed to waive his right to a jury trial on the
ingestion charge in exchange for the State dismissing the
possession charges. A court trial was held on June 14, 2016.
The court found Lar guilty of unauthorized ingestion of a
controlled substance. On August 9, the court sentenced Lar to
imprisonment for three years.
Lar appeals, raising one issue: Whether law enforcement may,
without a warrant, require an arrestee to provide a urine
sample as a search incident to arrest.
"Constitutional interpretation is a question of law
reviewable de novo." Kraft v. Meade Cty. ex rel. Bd.
of Cty. Comm'rs, 2006 S.D. 113, ¶ 2, 726 N.W.2d
237, 239 (quoting Steinkruger v. Miller, 2000 S.D.
83, ¶ 8, 612 N.W.2d 591, 595). "[W]e review the
circuit court's factual findings for clear error but
'give no deference to the circuit court's conclusions
of law.'" State v. Medicine, 2015 S.D. 45,
¶ 5, 865 N.W.2d 492, 495 (quoting State v.
Walter, 2015 S.D. 37, ¶ 6, 864 N.W.2d 779, 782).
The U.S. Constitution protects "[t]he right of the
people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures[.]"
U.S. Const. amend. IV; see also S.D. Const. art. VI,
§ 11. "As the text makes clear, 'the ultimate
touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is
"reasonableness."'" Riley v.
California, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 134 S.Ct. 2473, 2482, 189
L.Ed.2d 430 (2014) (quoting Brigham City v. Stuart,
547 U.S. 398, 403, 126 S.Ct. 1943, 1947, 164 L.Ed.2d 650
(2006)). "[S]earches conducted outside the judicial
process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are
per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment . . .
." Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, 338, 129
S.Ct. 1710, 1716, 173 L.Ed.2d 485 (2009) (quoting Katz v.
United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357, 88 S.Ct. 507, 514, 19
L.Ed.2d 576 ...