Kentucky Legislator Invokes State Constitution to Fight DUI Arrest

download (39)DUI cases have some standard defenses. For instance, the validity of a breath test can be challenged in many different ways, or the procedures used during a field sobriety test. But one legislator in Kentucky has come up with a novel challenge based on his state’s laws.

The state senator, Brandon Smith, was accused of driving drunk on the legislature’s opening day, but his lawyer has brought up an 1891 law that could cause it to be dropped. There is a provision in the state constitution that says a legislator cannot be arrested while in session or while going to or from their legislative buildings. There are exceptions for legislators who commit treason, felonies, or if there is a “breach or surety of the peace.”

Smith initially told police he hadn’t been drinking, but then admitted it after failing field sobriety tests. It will be an interesting case to follow. Old laws on the books have been able to help people in the past, though it remains to be seen whether or not the court will interpret DUI as a “breach or surety of the peace” or not, especially since this law was made far before the invention of the automobile.

Here in Pennsylvania, we have to resort to more modern defenses, like fighting the validity of breathalyzers and testing procedures. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania, please call Steven Kellis immediately for a consultation.