Court: "DUI Case Has Merit"

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The Mississippi Court of Appeals says that occasionally judges should consider the reasonableness of a motorist's decision to drive while legally intoxicated. The court Tuesday kicked back to Amite County a DUI case for that reason.

George C. Stodghill was convicted in 2002 of first offense driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 48 hours in prison and fined $1,000. The sentence and fine were suspended. The appeals court threw out the conviction and ordered a new trial.

Stodghill said he decided to drive his sick girlfriend to a McComb hospital even though he and other family had drunk heavily at a barbecue.

Stodghill was stopped and arrested after refusing to take a field sobriety test.

Stodghill claimed he had no other alternative than to drive his girlfriend. He claimed there were no neighbors near by and he was not sure calls to 911 went through.

The Appeals Court says Stodghill's claims had merit and should be heard more thoroughly in the Amite Court.