Republican Lawmaker Trying to Avoid Conviction in Kentucky by Citing Absurd ‘Privileged From Arrest’ Law

Kentucky-State-Senator-Brandon-SmithAmericans from both the left and the right often say that politicians are simply out of touch with reality. And, to be honest, I find it hard to disagree with that sentiment most days.


The vast majority of politicians serving at both the federal and state levels are lawyers and business owners. One profession being one of the most despised in the country and the other that’s often largely based upon treating people like expenses rather than actual human beings.

But neither of those professions are geared towards what “public service” is supposed to be, and that’s what politicians are meant to be – public servants. Instead, we often get a bunch of greedy sociopaths in our government acting in the best interest of themselves.

A great example of this comes by way of a Kentucky Republican state senator who’s fighting his DUI arrest based on a law written in – wait for it1891. 

Yes ladies and gentlemen, you read that correctly. A Republican in Kentucky is trying to use a law written over a century ago, far before cars were anything even close to being a “norm” in the day to day lives of Americans.

Republican State Sen. Brandon Smith from Kentucky’s 30th District was arrested on January 6the opening day for the state’s legislature, and charged with a DUI. He was allegedly driving 65 mph in a 45 mph zone and blew a .088 in a preliminary breathalyzer test.

So he wasn’t just driving under the influence of alcohol, he was going 20 mph over the posted speed limit.

Now, we all make mistakes. The way I was brought up is that if you do make a mistake, own up to it and humbly accept whatever consequences you might face. And that’s what I still believe.


What you shouldn’t do if you make a mistake is lie about it or try to find ways to get out of facing any kinds of consequences for your actions. In my opinion, that shows a total lack of remorse and disgusting arrogance.

But trying to avoid facing consequences for his actions is exactly what Smith is trying to do by citing this law that states lawmakers are “privileged from arrest.”

The section of the law reads:

The members of the General Assembly shall, in all cases except treason, felony, breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on the sessions of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other place.

Being that this law was written in 1891, it clearly was not meant to allow lawmakers to get away with driving under the influence of any substance. The fact that he’s trying to use this law to get out of facing any sort of punishment for his actions is both pathetic and disgusting.

This reminds me of a story I wrote about last year from Minnesota where state lawmakers were essentially given “get out of jail free” cards.

While there might have been a time and place in our society where such “passes” were needed, I think it’s fairly safe to say that these laws in any state that might have something similar were not meant to give lawmakers within their borders complete autonomy to do whatever they want – especially driving drunk or doing anything that puts lives at risk. And they’re clearly no longer needed in a modern society.



Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Dewflodger

    The 1891 law is much younger than the constitution; hence the argument that it is an old law as casting it out has no standing. He is correct in applying that law. On the other hand, I believe that he should not get a ‘bye’ in his infractions. The state government should pass legislation to void the old nonsense laws, which I thought was the legislative function.

  • Doc

    Isn’t a DUI a felony in Kentucky like it is in most states? And isn’t driving 20mph or greater in Kentucky also a felony like most other states?

  • Scott H. Gottliebson

    “…privileged from arrest during their attendance on the sessions of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other place.” doesn’t mean he can’t be arrested any other time.
    The question is was he pulled over leaving the Assembly or the bar where he got his drink on. if he left the bar than the law ought not to apply. If he left the Assembly having been drinking on the job the very first day than the law may get him out of trouble but it sure makes him a worthless POS representative.

  • Scaramongus

    Have to imagine that perhaps the intentions was more like they couldn’t be arrested by unscrupulous lawmen in the pockets of the politicians as a way to prevent them from doing the peoples business.