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Police had probable cause to ask for PBT

Village of Grafton v. Carl J. Schlegel, 2013AP2521, District 2, 5/7/14 (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

Police had probable cause to ask Schlegel to submit to a preliminary breath test under § 343.303 even though he wasn’t asked to perform field sobriety tests first, and the result of the PBT, along with the rest of the facts, gave police probable cause to arrest Schlegel for OWI.

8        Schlegel drove his car 120 feet into an open field before hitting a grassy berm at 1:39 a.m.; his eyes were bloodshot and glassy; he smelled of intoxicants; and he admitted that he had been drinking. The officer was justified in skipping field sobriety tests prior to requesting a PBT, given concerns that Schlegel may have been injured or, at least, affected by the accident to the extent that such tests would not have aided his probable-cause determination. Regardless, police had probable cause to believe that Schlegel had operated his vehicle while intoxicated such that they could ask him to submit to a PBT and consider the PBT results in deciding whether to arrest him for OWI.

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