The 119th Anniversary of the First DUI Arrest

September 10th may seem like any other day, but what many people do not know is that September 10th, 2016 marks the 119th anniversary of the first recorded DUI arrest. In the many years since, the public attitude towards the crime as well as the legislation behind it have both evolved, and led to the creation of modern technology which has made detecting and charging perpetrators easier.

The First DUI

The date was September 10, 1897—the automobile was just beginning to be seen more frequently on public streets, the industrial revolution was in full swing, and the British Empire still controlled territory on every single continent around the world. The big incident in the city of London for the day: cab driver George Smith ran his taxi into a building while intoxicated.

While no injuries were reported, Smith was arrested for drunk driving. He pled guilty at his trial and was fined 25 shillings. The evidence that was presented in his case was rather straightforward: in addition to driving his cab into a wall, he told police he was intoxicated. However, there was no way of chemically testing Mr. Smith’s intoxication levels at the time.

The Development of the Chemical Test

The Breathalyzer as we know it today did not come around until decades after Smith’s historic car accident, being invented in 1954. The Drunkometer preceded it by 23 years, but was very difficult to use, requiring a lot of scientific precision.

By this point, driving while intoxicated was a major problem in the U.S., causing thousands of accidents, deaths, and injuries every year. It wasn’t until these methods of scientifically determining intoxication levels came into existence that laws then were able to be put in place for determining driving under the influence.

DUI Charges Today

As drunk driving became progressively linked with more and more accidents and highway deaths, it gradually developed a stigma which still sticks with the crime today. This is appropriate because the CDC estimates that intoxicated drivers cause nearly one out of every three car accidents and is the leading cause of traffic fatalities.

When you are arrested for driving under the influence, do not hesitate to contact Hutton & Wilson as soon as possible. Our experienced DUI attorneys have represented clients through hundreds of DUI cases that have gone to full jury trials, earning successful outcomes in many of them. Our team has received legal honors including recognition from Super Lawyers, and serving as ranking members of prestigious societies including the National College for DUI Defense.

Don’t wait! Time is not on your side after being arrested for a DUI. Contact Hutton & Wilson to get a free consultation from our distinguished attorneys today!