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Hot-Coffee Defense Is No Grounds for Acquittal, Court Says

November 05, 1986|Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Spilling hot coffee on yourself while driving is no excuse for speeding, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

The three-judge panel upheld the conviction of Robert Miller, a Minneapolis sales representative and law student who was cited in November, 1985, for driving 40 m.p.h. in a 30-m.p.h. zone.

Miller, who represented himself, said the pain from the hot coffee startled him and caused him to depress the gas pedal. He argued that he did not have the necessary intent to commit a crime.

But the court said Miller's decision to bring a cup of hot coffee into the car had "set in motion the sequence of events leading to a violation of the statute."

Miller was found guilty of a petty misdemeanor by Ramsey Municipal Judge Allan R. Markert in June, but the judge waived the fine.

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