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Necessity, duress and other DUI defenses

A person who is accused of a drunk driving offense will likely feel that there is no way that they can successfully defend the charges against them. "A DUI is insurmountable," the individual may think. However, there are certain circumstances that may be involved in your DUI that give you a good chance to defeat the charges. Let's take a look at some of these scenarios and how it could aid someone being accused of a drunk driving offense. 

First, let's look at a couple of uncommon defense tactics. One claim the accused could make is that he or she actually wasn't the driver at the time of the alleged incident. Improprieties on the part of the police could also be used as a defense strategy for the accused.

The more common, and effective defense strategies relate to police protocols, administration of tests, and what are called "affirmative" defenses.

Police protocols: Defense strategies in this category could allege that the police officer did not have probable cause to make the stop that led to the DUI.

Administration of tests (and evidence): If the police officer failed to properly administer a breath test or blood test, then the result could be thrown out. In addition, if, during the chain of custody of evidence, your blood was tainted or tampered with, then the case against you could be dismissed.

"Affirmative" defense: These are unique, but entirely possible, situations. For example, what if a medical emergency occurs and you, while being over the limit, are the only one capable of driving? This is called "necessity" and it is a viable defense. What if you are forced to drive drunk under threat of force or injury? This is called "duress" and it, too, is a viable DUI defense.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," Accessed Aug. 14, 2015

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