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More on probable cause to arrest for OWI

State v. George R. Ferrell, Appeal No. 2012AP2602, 9/26/13, (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

A state trooper does not need evidence such as odors, admissions or containers to have probable cause to arrest for OWI.  These facts will do the trick:

 ¶12 . . . [T]he State Patrol received several reports that Ferrell was driving erratically and dangerously.  Thiede observed that Ferrell was speeding and watched Ferrell swerve within his lane.  When Thiede activated his lights and siren, Ferrell did not immediately react; instead, he continued to an exit and stopped halfway down the exit ramp.  Thiede also observed physical signs that caused him to believe that Ferrell was intoxicated.  Ferrell’s eyes were bloodshot and his pupils were unusually constricted, and his speech was slightly slurred.

 The court of appeals also held that Ferrell’s refusal to submit to a field sobriety test shows consciousness of guilt.  Slip op. ¶ 13 (citing State v. Babbitt, 188 Wis. 2d 349, 359-60, 525 N.W.2d 102 (Ct. App. 1994) (“The most plausible reason for a defendant to refuse such a test is the fear that taking the test will expose the defendant’s guilt.  Thus … this evidence should be admissible for the purpose of establishing probable cause to arrest.”))  For prior On Point analysis on this issue, click here.

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