September 10th may be just another day to most people, but in addition to “National
TV Dinner Day” it is also the anniversary of the first DWI conviction
in history. This year marks the 119th year mark since the first legal conviction of someone operating their
car with a blood alcohol content that was far too high.
It was September 10, 1897. Great Britain still controlled nearly half of
the planet, the industrial revolution was in full swing, and cars were
just starting to become more commonplace on roads around the world. One
of these cars was a cab, driven by a gentleman by the name of George Smith.
After having a few pints at a local pub, Smith proceeded to get back behind
the wheel of his taxi and then slammed it into a building.
Fortunately for Smith, nobody was hurt in the accident, including himself
as airbags had not yet been invented. Smith was arrested and charged with
driving while drunk after a relatively short investigation (he openly
admitted to police that he was intoxicated). He plead guilty in court
and was fined 25 shillings.
Changing the Legal Landscape
In Smith’s case, he openly admitted to officers that he was intoxicated,
but what if he had insisted otherwise? How would officers have known?
How could they prove it? This led to numerous scientific experiments and
the eventual connection between intoxication and alcohol in the blood
stream, followed by blood-alcohol and breath.
The Drunkometer was invented by Indiana University toxicologist Rolla Harger
in 1931, but required some significant scientific knowledge and there
were a lot of inconsistencies with the required chemical mixture. It wasn’t
until 1954 that Robert Borkenstein invented the Breathalyzer. Today, a
smaller, cheaper, and electronic version of the Breathalyzer that is more
accurate than ever before is standard equipment in every police car, both
in the United States and all across Europe.
If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated in the Buffalo area,
time is not on your side! Call the experienced Buffalo DWI attorneys from
The Rossi Law Firm as soon as possible for representation when your case is heard in court.
Our attorneys have earned numerous legal accolades, including admission
into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum®, an AV® Preeminent™
rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, and a 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo.
Call The Rossi Law Firm today at (716) 951-5040 and schedule your consultation with our distinguished
legal representatives now!