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Probable Cause – OWI

Bradley K. Darwin, No. 2009AP2608-FT, District IV, 6/10/10

court of appeals decision (1-judge; not for publication); for Darwin: Bill Ginsberg; BiC; Resp.; Reply

¶5     Darwin argues that the officer lacked probable cause to arrest him for OWI. The municipal court made the following findings of fact with respect to probable cause: Darwin signaled a turn, but failed to complete it; he denied drinking; he emitted an odor of intoxicants, his eyes were red, and his speech was slurred; he refused to perform field sobriety tests; and the officer observed bad driving. The municipal court based its findings on the testimony of the arresting officer, Darwin, and two of Darwin’s friends, and found the officer’s testimony more credible than the testimony of the other witnesses. Given our highly deferential review of the municipal court’s determinations of credibility, and our examination of the record, we cannot say that the municipal court’s findings of fact are clearly erroneous. We conclude that these facts, when viewed objectively and taken together with the officer’s experience, rose to the level of probable cause to arrest Darwin for OWI.

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