Fish And Chips Won’t Excuse Wisconsin Drunk Driving Charge


Image from Adams County Sheriffs Department

Imagine you’re at your local fish and chip spot and you’ve eaten your fair share of the beer battered cod. Besides feeling extremely bloated, would you feel a little tipsy too? That’s what one man wanted the police to believe after he was stopped for a 10th drunk driving charge in Wisconsin.

John Przybyla, a 76 year old man from Dell Prairie, Wisconsin, was driving his truck in October of 2014 when a police officer noticed he was crossing the center line of the highway. When the officer pulled him over he said that his breath smelt like alcohol and when asked him to perform a field sobriety test, Przybyla failed.

Although he smelt like alcohol, Przybyla said he hadn’t had anything to drink, and the only reason he could have smelt like alcohol was because he had eaten beer-battered fish earlier that evening. He registered a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .062 on a breathalyzer, and that number came in well over the .02 limit he was bound to as a repeat offender in Wisconsin.

Przybyla is one of thousands of repeat offenders in Wisconsin, and the state’s OWI problem is well known across the United States. One of the reasons why first offenders become repeat offenders in the state may be because first offenders receive minimal penalties, and only when you get to your 5th or 6th offense do you receive stiff fines, up to 6 years in jail, and are required to install an ignition interlock.

Other repeat offenders in Wisconsin may want to take note: Przybyla’s beer-battered fish explanation didn’t fly with the police office, and it didn’t work when it came to court either. Przybyla was found guilty of his 10th OWI offense by a jury, and he was also charged with operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration and operating while revoked.

He hasn’t been sentenced yet, but he may face over 12 years in jail for this drunk driving charge in Wisconsin. That’s a long time to wonder just how much alcohol was in that beer battered fish.

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