Ah yes, the "the beer-battered fish did it" defense. A classic legal ruse. Only this time, the jury didn't bite.
76-year-old Wisconsinite John Przybyla was convicted of his 10th OWI (operating while intoxicated is the state's version of a DUI) this week, when a jury rejected his claim that he had been intoxicated by eating beer-battered fish. I guess when you see the "my body is a brewery" defense work, you're willing to try anything.
Tenth Time's a Charm
We're not sure what excuses Mr. Przybyla came up with for his first nine OWI convictions, but they must have been equally unconvincing. After being pulled over for crossing the center line in his pickup, Przybyla told a deputy the reason he smelled like alcohol is because he ate beer-battered fish earlier that day. He gave the same story to the jury, and they also didn't think some golden, flaky, delicious fish could account for a 0.062 blood-alcohol concentration.
While that is under the state's legal limit of 0.08 for most drivers, those with three or more prior OWI convictions are held to a strict 0.02 standard. And if you're wondering how Mr. Przybyla was behind the wheel at all after nine prior OWI convictions, the jury also found him guilty of operating while revoked. He's now looking at 12 years in jail.
"It Wasn't Me"
Mr. Przybyla's fishy excuse gives us the perfect opportunity to look at some other wonderful DUI justifications:
- "I crashed my car on black ice that I totally didn't create by pouring out some water on the road in the middle of the night";
- "My squirrel was eating me";
- "I want to go to jail in the next county over";
- "I was abducted by aliens who coincidentally dumped me at this crash site"; and the classic
- "I was just trying to drive it off".
None of these excuses worked either, but you can't fault people for trying.