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5 affirmative defenses to DUI

Drivers accused of operating their vehicles while intoxicated will face serious consequences if they are convicted. For this reason, most drivers accused of this crime are well-served to contract the services of an experience DUI attorney who can help them navigate their criminal proceedings. One category of defense strategy that attorneys commonly pursue -- depending on the facts of the given case -- is known as the affirmative defense.

An affirmative defense involves the defendant agreeing that he or she was intoxicated behind the while, but that he or she had a very good reason for the behavior. There are five primary types of affirmative defense:

-- Defense of necessity: When the accused driver shows that it was necessary to drive while intoxicated in order for a greater evil not to occur. For example, perhaps it was necessary to drive someone to the hospital in an emergency and no one else was available. In this situation, driving drunk may have prevented someone from dying.

-- Defense of entrapment: When someone can show that he or she was encouraged by a police officer to drive while intoxicated.

-- Defense of duress: When the defendant was ordered to drive while intoxicated by someone who threatened to harm or physically hurt the defendant or the defendant's family.

-- Defense of mistake of fact: When the defendant honestly believed that he or she was not intoxicated. This might be the case if the accused driver did not know the impairing effect of a medication being taken.

-- Involuntary intoxication: When the alcohol or intoxicating substance was consumed unknowingly and the accused driver made to be intoxicated without knowledge.

North Carolina residents who have been accused of DUI charges may be able to benefit from one of the above defense strategies. However, it is vital to have the facts of a particular case scrutinized -- and to perform a review of previous case law on the subject -- to determine if an affirmative defense strategy can be appropriately applied.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to drunk driving," accessed Nov. 11, 2016

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