Georgia state Rep. David Graves, charged with drunken driving for a second time, says his position as lawmaker makes him immune from arrest while the Legislature is at work, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Graves, a Republican from Macon, is citing a centuries-old provision in the state constitution to argue that he should not be prosecuted for a DUI he received in Cobb County in February. The arrest was made during Georgia’s 2005 session of the General Assembly.
Cobb State Court Judge Irma B. Glover was expected to issue a ruling Tuesday on Graves’ “legislative immunity” defense. His trial also was expected to begin Tuesday. The provision, which dates back to 1789 and was written to protect lawmakers from political intimidation, holds that a lawmaker cannot be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly, legislative committee meetings or while they are in transit. It does allow arrests for “treason, felony, or breach of the peace.”