by Chuck Lindell, American-Statesman
After his fourth driving-while-intoxicated conviction in 2016, a San Antonio man tried to overturn his four-year prison sentence by arguing that Texas’ legal limit on intoxicated driving discriminates against alcoholics.
Ralph Alfred Friesenhahn argued that the state’s driving limit of 0.08 blood-alcohol concentration ignores the higher tolerances that frequent drinkers have to the effects of liquor, allowing the “protected class of alcoholics” to be prosecuted without having to prove that they had lost control of their mental or physical abilities.
The Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals wasn’t buying it, saying in an opinion issued Friday that state law does not unfairly single out alcoholics because it applies equally to all drivers.
Friesenhahn not only failed to present evidence that alcoholics are a protected class under the Americans With Disabilities Act or other federal law, he also failed to prove that the law treats alcoholics differently than other DWI defendants, said the opinion by Justice Cindy Olson Bourland.