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OWI – Blood Test Admissibility

County of Brown v. Eric J. Schroeder, 2010AP2967, District 3, 6/7/11

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Schroeder: Dennis M. Melowski, Dennis M. Melowski; case activity

Following OWI arrest and blood test result over the limit, Schoeder’s license was administratively suspended. The police, however, failed to provide him with the form explaining the suspension review process, contrary to § 343.305(8)(am). Schroeder argues that this omission causes a loss of presumptive reliability of the blood test (which allows admission into evidence without expert testimony). It is settled that presumptive admissibility is lost if the officer fails to give information required by § 343.305(4)  before testing, State v. Zielke, 137 Wis. 2d 39, 51-52, 403 N.W.2d 427 (1987). The court declines to extend that holding to subsec. (8).

¶8        Schroeder offers no authority holding the loss of the presumption of admissibility extends to procedural violations under Wis. Stat. § 343.305(8).  Rather, all of Schroeder’s cases involve an officer’s failure to give a defendant either all or part of the warnings outlined in § 343.305(4).  See Wilke, 152 Wis.2d 243 (defendant not given all statutory warnings prior to test); Zielke, 137 Wis. 2d 39; State v. Geraldson, 176 Wis. 2d 487, 500 N.W.2d 415 (Ct. App. 1993).

¶9        Further, Wis. Stat. § 343.305 has many procedural components.  To hold that the County loses its presumption of admissibility whenever there is a procedural violation under the statute creates the absurd result of the County losing this presumption when procedures unrelated to the chemical tests are violated. For example, under Schroeder’s rationale, the County would lose its presumption of admissibility if the department of transportation fails to conduct “a hearing … within 30 days after the date of notification [of an administrative suspension],” contrary to Wis. Stat. § 343.305(8)(b)1.; or if the hearing examiner fails to “conduct the administrative hearing in an informal manner,” contrary to § 343.305(8)(b)3.

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