Drunk Driving Defense

Back in 1971, Melvin Baker offered a novel defense for why he shouldn't have been charged with drunk driving. He was, he said, too drunk to have made an intelligent decision about whether to submit to the breathalyzer test — the results of which led to him being charged. He apparently argued this case all the way up to the New York Supreme Court.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat - July 7, 1971

Details about this case are hard to come by, but this other brief article offers an explanation for why Baker persisted with his seemingly hopeless argument. Because if he had refused to take the test, he would only have had his license suspended. But having taken the test, and failed it, he also faced criminal prosecution. So it was all an elaborate, legalistic ploy to get the lighter penalty.

Long Beach Independent - Sep 7, 1971

     Posted By: Alex - Thu May 14, 2020
     Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants | Law | 1970s | Cars

Nit: in New York, the Supreme Court isn't the highest court. As the first article correctly states, the highest court is the Court of Appeals. Years ago, I served on a jury in the Supreme Court where a guy was accused of shooting his neighbor over a parking space. Also, the second article conflates a loophole in California with the law in New York. I have no idea whether the same loophole exists or existed in New York.
Posted by ges on 05/14/20 at 10:46 AM
Another one you could try: You were forced to be to one to drive, while the others rode passenger, because you were too drunk to sing.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 05/14/20 at 01:04 PM
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