State v. Wille

In State v. Wille, 185 Wis. 2d 673, 518 N.W.2d 325 (Ct. App. 1994), the issue on appeal was whether issue preclusion prohibited a driver from relitigating the probable cause issue in his criminal case when he had failed to prevail at the refusal hearing with the identical defense that no probable cause existed for his arrest. See id. at 676. In deciding that issue preclusion did not apply, the court observed: "Thus, the State's burden of persuasion at a refusal hearing is substantially less than at a suppression hearing." Id. at 681. Although the court used the term "burden of persuasion" rather than "burden of proof," it is undisputed in Wille that the court was referring to the burden of proof. In State v. Wille, the defendant struck a vehicle parked on the shoulder of a highway. A firefighter and a deputy smelled intoxicants on Wille's breath at the scene of the accident. Because of his injuries, he was transported to the hospital. At the hospital, the arresting deputy also smelled intoxicants on Wille's breath. Wille was uncooperative with the nurses who were treating his injuries. Upon entering his hospital room, Wille stated that he had "to quit doing this." Id. The deputy arrested Wille without performing a field sobriety test. See id. We held that probable cause existed to arrest Wille. See id. In sum, the defendant hit a parked car, the officer smelled intoxicants, and the defendant stated that he had "to quit doing this." Id. The court interpreted the defendant's statement as evidence of his consciousness of guilt. See id. at 684.