Montana County Attorney Challenges Legislators on Their DUI Claims

By Mary Ann

A Yellowstone County Montana attorney has challenged state legislators to a scientific test of their claims to have had only a few drinks, made after their DUI arrests.

As with many people throughout the United States, two Montana legislators recently claimed to have had only two or three drinks even though breath tests showed a BAC of at least 0.14 percent.

Montana Representative Scott Boggio said “I guess that, you know, anyone who goes out to dinner and has a few drinks along with their meal can get a DUI.” His breathalyzer test showed he had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.14.

Representative John Ross’s breath test showed a BAC of 0.18. He said “I shouldn’t have had that third glass of wine, evidently.”

Dennis Paxinos, a Yellowstone County attorney, responded that “these types of minimizing statements send the message to everyone else that the DUI laws are patently unfair and that anyone can be innocently ‘trapped’ with prosecution for DUI for simply having a few drinks with dinner.”

Paxinos has challenged legislators to submit to a scientific test of these minimizing statements. He has offered to pay for dinner for two legislators, including three “(or a few)” drinks. Paxinos proposes to take BAC readings on the participants, before and after a normal hour-and-a-half dinner.

After the post-dinner breath tests, they could return to the restaurant and continue drinking until the participants reach a BAC of 0.14. Paxinos wants to show how many drinks it really takes to reach a 0.14 BAC, the same concentration Donovan J. Ruff had when he killed a Yellowstone County pedestrian.

Ruff was recently sentenced to 24 years in prison.