State Senator speaks out about DUI charge

HAZARD, Ky. (WKYT) -- Hazard State Senator Brandon Smith is responding to heavy criticism he's received after being charged with DUI in Frankfort and saying it should be dismissed based on a law from 1891.

He spoke exclusively with WYMT's Steve Hensley about the matter Friday and said, “I do not think somebody should be able to use this to protect guilty people.”

Smith is referring to a section of the state constitution which bans lawmakers from being arrested except for certain offenses while the legislature is in session.

Thursday in court, his attorney cited the 1891 rule as a reason the case should be dismissed.

Smith added, “We felt like there were circumstances in this particular case that just didn't pass the smell test and my attorney wanted them to take a look at that so that's the judge's prerogative to make sure that everything's on the square. That they can go through it and make sure this wasn't someone that was targeting us or they had some sort of agenda.”

Smith was charged with DUI on the first day of the 2015 legislative session. A citation says Smith had a .088 percent blood alcohol level in a portable breath test.

He would not discuss specifics of the case but he denies drinking that night and says the truth will eventually come out.

“I’m sorry that we weren't able to talk earlier. I felt like i should be able to talk about this as soon as it happened and you get a lot of legal advice and you bring people in. I've never been in jail before in my life. I've never been arrested. In 40 years I've had four tickets,” said Smith.

Smith said he's received threats and the ordeal has been embarrassing, scary and tough on his family.

“If there is any silver lining to what I’m having to go through now, and my family, is that it has opened my eyes to a lot of stuff that goes on in the system that I probably wouldn't have believed before,” added Smith.

He says he will plead not guilty if the case is not thrown out.

Smith represents the 30th District, which includes several counties in eastern Kentucky.