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Facts as found by circuit court supported probable cause to arrest for OWI

City of Chippewa Falls v. Douglas M. Buchli, 2014AP1422, District 3, 12/23/14 (1-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

There was probable cause to arrest Buchli for OWI despite the fact the police investigation discovered inconsistent information—including an admission by Buchli’s companion, Mahoney, that she was driving.

¶18      In denying the motion to suppress, the [circuit] court found [Officers] Hakes’ and Strand’s testimony credible. See [State v.Wille, 185 Wis. 2d [673,] 682[, 518 N.W.2d 325 (Ct. App. 1994)] (“The trial court takes evidence in support of suppression and against it, and chooses between conflicting versions of the facts.  It necessarily determines the credibility of the officers and other witnesses.”). Its findings of fact were supported by the evidence in the record, and are not clearly erroneous. Hakes testified that after Mahoney’s initial claim of culpability, Mahoney began to cry and admitted Buchli was responsible for the accident. There was also testimony that: Buchli was wearing boots consistent with the footprints leading away from the accident, as well as outdoor clothing appropriate for a day of fishing; Buchli later admitted he had been drinking while ice fishing and afterward; and fishing equipment and alcohol were in the vehicle at the accident scene. In addition, there was testimony that Buchli was intoxicated, as evidenced by slurred speech, odors of intoxicants, glassy eyes, and difficulty communicating. Lastly, the officers testified Buchli “made small admissions” regarding his blameworthiness, including that he “fucked up.” ….

Note that Buchli pled no contest to first-offense OWI after his suppression motion was denied. A guilty or no contest plea forfeits the right to appeal nonjurisdictional defenses or defects, and the statutory exception to that rule for suppression issues, § 971.31(10), applies only in criminal cases. Forfeiture is a matter of administration, not jurisdiction, however, and the court of appeals agrees with the parties that it need not apply the forfeiture rule to the suppression issue based on the factors laid out in County of Ozaukee v. Quelle, 198 Wis. 2d 269, 275-76, 542 N.W.2d 196 (Ct. App. 1995). (¶¶10-12).

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