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Wis. Man Blames 10th OWI on Beer-Battered Fish

By Brett Snider, Esq. on December 15, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A man pulled over for drunken driving had a unique excuse for smelling like booze: a recent dinner of beer-battered fish.

John Przybyla, 75, of Friendship, Wisconsin, was pulled over on suspicion of OWI (operating while under the influence) in October; he also had nine prior OWI offenses on his record. When the arresting deputy approached Przybyla's car, Przybyla allegedly told the deputy that the alcohol smell was due to the beer-battered fish he had eaten.

We can't resist saying that this story smells fishy, but what about the legal meat of the case?

Golden Brown, Flaky Excuse

Beer-battered fish is definitely a thing. It's a pub staple and it's typically accompanied by some malt vinegar and some fries (chips). Oh, and probably a pint or five of beer. We're unsure where Przybyla claims he ate his beer-battered OWI excuse, but we're pretty sure that when he proved "uncoordinated" on the field sobriety tests, it wasn't because of any fish he'd just eaten.

According to Northern Wisconsin's WAOW-TV, the arresting officer didn't buy the fish excuse and arrested Przybyla for OWI. Przybyla was apparently cooperative until it was time to do a blood draw to test for alcohol at the hospital. It is legal to force a drunken driving suspect to submit to a blood draw with a search warrant, and Przybyla reportedly had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.042 percent.

The legal limit for those over 21 years of age in Wisconsin is still 0.08 percent, but that changes once you've had more than one prior OWI.

10th Time's the Charm

Wisconsin raises the stakes for repeat drunken driving offenders by lowering the legal limit for intoxication to 0.02 percent for drivers with three or more prior offenses -- which is the same limit for underage drivers. According to WAOW, this will be Przybyla's 10th OWI offense, and that means the stricter limit applies to him.

Przybyla was reportedly on probation for a previous OWI conviction when he was arrested. If he remains in custody, Przybyla isn't likely to get any more beer-battered fish until his probation hearing or arraignment.

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