S.A. Man's Claim that DWI Arrest Discriminates Against Alcoholics Rejected

No, being arrested for drunk driving does not violate the Americans with Disability Acgt rights of a man who claims to be an alcoholic, but lawyers give a San Antonio man plenty of points for creativity, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

According to Texas Appeals Court documents, Ralph Friesenhahn of San Antonio claimed that his fourth DWI arrest violated his rights because, as former U.S. Attorney Richard Roper told News Radio 1200 WOAI, Friesenhahn claims to be an 'alcoholic.'

"He says as an alcoholic he can metabolize alcohol better than a non drinking, that the level of .08 should be a lot higher, essentially .30, to take in his disability," Roper said.

Friesenhahn also argued that alcoholics should be considered a 'protected class' under the A.D.A.  He said essentially that anti drunk driving laws unfairly discriminate against alcoholics.

"The crux of appellant’s argument, as presented in his motion to quash, is that the statutory definition of “intoxicated” as having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more that is incorporated into the DWI statute “unfairly applies” to “the protected class of alcoholics," the court wrote.  "Appellant maintains that it is “well settled” that alcoholics have a higher tolerance to alcohol than other drinkers and therefore the 0.08 alcohol concentration level “unfairly discriminates” against those who have the disease of alcoholism. He contends that the DWI statutory scheme allows for the prosecution of members of the “protected class of alcoholics” without ever showing that the alcoholic defendant lost control of his or her physical faculties."

Friesenhahn pointed to studies which call alcoholism 'a disease.'

"I don't think he could show in his creative argument that there should be some exception for hard core alcoholics, but there isn't," Roper said.

The appeals court upheld Friesenhahn's four year prison sentence.  No word on whether he plans to appeal.

READ THE COURT'S RULING:   http://search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?MediaVersionID=ed406edd-ec4c-4b89-8dde-e84b18de6cf3&MediaID=d9392b26-dab7-4cd4-9b33-327800604047&coa=%22%20+%20this.CurrentWebState.CurrentCourt%20+%20@%22&DT=Opinion

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