Here, now, is a legal defense that only makes sense if you are drunk in a bar instead of standing before ... that other kind of bar: A San Antonio man sought to overturn his fourth conviction for driving while intoxicated by arguing that the legal limit of 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content discriminates against alcoholics.

How's that? To elaborate: In hopes of overturning his four-year prison sentence, Ralph Alfred Friesenhahn argued that, because chronic alcoholics have a higher tolerance for alcohol, the 0.08 limit was basically child's play for them, and a "protected class of alcoholics" was being prosecuted without the state proving that they (he) had indeed lost any of their mental and physical faculties.

In other words, it's the "I'm fine!" defense.

Not surprisingly, Texas' 3rd Court of Appeals rejected this argument on Friday, pointing out that a standard that applies to everyone does not unfairly single out alcoholics. Plus, Friesenhahn failed to prove alcoholics are a protected class under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

There is, of course, a bigger problem with Friesenhahn's argument. Let's play along and assume for a moment that his alcoholism does in fact equip him with a sort of superpower, and that he was in full command of his abilities at a blood-alcohol level of 0.08. Unfortunately for sake of his argument, Friesenhahn went way, way past 0.08: HIs 2016 arrest came after he rolled his car over on a country road and blew a 0.29, nearly four times the legal limit.

The argument didn't work with the trial judge when Friesenhahn's attorney, Gina Jones of New Braunfels, tried using it to quash his felony indictment. And clearly, it didn't work on appeal, either.

His previous DWI convictions were in 1985, 1990 and 1998. Based on those, his fourth case was a felony charge with prison time.

Prosecutor Sammy McCrary called the argument ridiculous.

"You're not being punished for being an alcoholic. It's the driving that's the problem," McCrary said. "It's making the decision to get into a 3,000-pound vehicle ... after drinking."

Related Video:



Share This Photo X