Zuba & Associates, P.C.

Affirmative defenses to drunk driving charges

Criminal defense attorneys in Illinois may seek the dismissal of impaired driving charges by mounting a challenge to the administration of blood or breath tests or to the constitutional nature of the vehicle stop. However, there are situations in which defense attorneys may feel that affirmative defense strategies would be appropriate for those facing DUI charges.

The most common affirmative defenses are entrapment, duress and necessity. Police officers are guilty of entrapment when they encourage individuals to behave criminally that would otherwise have remained on the right side of the law. Defendants who claim duress or necessity are telling the court that they had no choice but to commit the crime in question. A motorist accused of drunk driving could mount a defense based on necessity if getting behind the wheel prevented a greater evil.

Those facing drunk driving charges may also mount affirmative defenses when they honestly believed that they were unimpaired or they were given drugs or alcohol unwittingly. Defendants in DUI cases have even been known to mount an affirmative defense based on a rare medical condition that can cause intoxication even when no alcohol has been consumed. The condition, which is known as auto-brewery syndrome, converts common food in the digestive tract into ethanol.

Criminal defense attorneys may be reluctant to pursue an affirmative defense strategy without strong supporting evidence. An affirmative defense involves the admission of guilt in some cases, and defense attorneys may feel that the interests of their clients are best served by vigorously denying the allegations made against them.

Source: CNN, "Woman claims her body brews alcohol, has DUI charge dismissed", Sandee LaMotte, Jan. 1, 2016

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Zuba & Associates, P.C

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