You Don't Always Have To Claim You Were Sober When Charged With A DUI…

Law Blog

Many people, when faced with DUI (driving under the influence) charges, think that the best defense is to prove that they didn't do it. However, this isn't always the case; there are defenses that can get you off the hook even it's clear that you were driving while intoxicated. For example, you can claim that:

You Had To Do It

This is the necessity defense, which you should use if you can prove that you had to drive while intoxicated because not doing so would have led to a greater evil. You are basically saying that you had two choices – to drive while drunk (and risk the consequences) or suffer the other evil, and you chose the former because it was better.

Consider an example where you are an intoxicated passenger in a car being driven by a sober person. If you have an accident, and the driver suffers a critical injury, you may be forced to drive them to safety. Of course, you need to prove that there was no way (for example, you didn't have a cell phone to call emergency services) or nobody who could have saved the driver.

You Honestly Knew You Were Sober

Lawyers call this the mistake of fact doctrine, which is a fancy way is saying that you honestly saying that you knew you were not intoxicated. This defense may work if your intoxication was caused by medication, and its effects were supposed to wear off after some time. Take an example where your doctor has prescribed a drug whose side effects include drowsiness or loss of balance, two things associated with intoxication. If the doctor says that the effect wears off after five hours, and you were stopped for DUI while driving six hours after taking the drug, then the mistake of fact defense may work for you.

You Were Forced To Do It

In this case, you are acknowledging that you drove while drunk, but only because you were avoiding a serious injury or death. Here is an example of a case in which this defense, legally known as the duress defense, may work: your spouse, who has a history of physical abuse, forces you to drive them home after you have taken alcohol at a party. You may succeed with the defense if you can convince the court that you believed your spouse would harm you (seriously) if you refused to drive them home.

There are only a few instances in which these defenses, collectively known as affirmative defenses, may work. Consult a DUI lawyer like Robert A Murray to help you craft the best defense if you are facing DUI charges.  


13 August 2017