An Overview Of Three Affirmative Defenses For DUI Charges

19 November 2019
 Categories: , Blog

If you have been charged with DUI (driving under the influence) charge, you should know that there are potential defenses you can rely on even if the evidence of your intoxication is overwhelming. In this case, you can try affirmative defenses, such as the following three.


The necessity defense applies in a situation in which you have to commit a more minor crime to prevent a greater problem. It is essentially a case of choosing the lesser of two evils in which there is no other alternative. For example, what if you have drunk some alcohol when your wife goes into labor? If the only way to help your wife is for you to drive, you may raise the necessity defense if you are charged with a DUI.

The necessity defense is not a slam dunk defense; you must prove several things, including that you believed the threat was imminent and the threat was worse than DUI, among other things.


The duress defense is relevant if someone forces you to commit a crime and threatens you with harm if you don't consent to the crime. In this context, you would use the duress defense if someone forced you to drive knowing very well that you were intoxicated and they threatened you with harm if you didn't comply. For example, if your boss forces you to drive and threatens to fire you or disclose private information if you don't comply.

The duress defense is unlikely to get you completely off the hook. However, it may act as a mitigating factor and help you face reduced charges and penalties. For example, you may get the minimum, instead of the maximum, penalties if you end up getting convicted.

Involuntary Intoxication

Involuntary intoxication occurs when you are intoxicated but you don't know that you are intoxicated. Driving while intoxicated is dangerous, and it is a crime, but it would be hard to avoid driving while intoxicated if you didn't know about your intoxication in the first place.

There are two classic instances in which you might up involuntarily intoxicated. The first is if someone spikes your drink at a party. The second is if you take drugs that trigger intoxication without knowing about such a side effect. In either case, the onus is on you to prove that you got intoxicated involuntarily.

An applicable DUI defense will depend on the circumstances of your case. Consult a DUI attorney to evaluate your case and advise you on the best defense to take.