City of Missoula v. ArmitageAnnotate this Case
Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to the charge of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. Defendant appealed, arguing that the municipal court erred in denying her motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of an investigative stop. Specifically, Defendant claimed that the ordinances of the City of Missoula that impose a $500 fine for refusing to give a breath sample were invalid and that the arresting officer unlawfully administered a breath test despite her initial refusal. The district court affirmed the decision of the municipal court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Missoula has authority to enact ordinances creating a misdemeanor penalty for the refusal to submit to a requested breath test; (2) the arresting officer did not violate statutory procedures by administering a post-arrest breath test with Defendant’s consent; and (3) the Missoula ordinances criminalizing the refusal to submit to a breath test do not unconstitutionally impair Defendant’s freedom of speech.