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Police had sufficient basis to request PBT

State v. Jeanmarie Carini, 2014AP526-CR, District 2, 8/27/14 (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

There was reasonable cause to believe Carini was driving while impaired and therefore police properly asked her to submit to a preliminary breath test.

¶9        The indicators of intoxication in Carini’s case were sufficient to establish probable cause to request a PBT. Carini inexplicably drove her car into another car at an intersection, causing an accident. Even with his poor sense of smell, the officer confirmed an odor of intoxicants on Carini’s breath. In these circumstances, on a cold November day, it is unsurprising that the officer chose a PBT as his next screening tool rather than FSTs.

¶10      It is true that there were more indicators of intoxication present in [State v.] Felton[, 2012 WI App 114, 344 Wis. 2d 483, 824 N.W.2d 871,] when the officer requested the PBT (seeing the driver “linger unusually long” at one stop sign and then “go right through” another; bloodshot and glassy eyes; a strong odor of intoxicants; and admission of drinking), id., ¶¶2, 3, than in Carini’s case. The inquiry, however, is not a matter of counting up how many indicators are present. It is a totality-of-the-circumstances test. Sometimes a single indicator might be enough. It all depends on the particular case.

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