Four Elements You Need To Prove To Succeed With A Necessity Defense For A DUI

Posted on: 16 August 2017

If you have been accused of driving under the influence, don't assume that the only way to defend yourself is to prove that you didn't do it (you weren't intoxicated). There are defenses that may get you off the hook without denying your intoxication; these are called affirmative defenses.

Necessity is a classic example of an affirmative defense. By invoking this defense, you are basically saying that you had no choice to drive; otherwise, you would have faced a greater evil. Here are the four things you need to succeed with the affirmative defense:

You Were Faced With Imminent Danger

The first thing you need to prove is that the danger you are claiming you had to avoid was imminent. For example, if your defense is that you had to drive an injured person to the hospital, you need to prove that you had to drive them immediately and even a slight delay may have caused them fatal or critical injury. This defense can't work if the injury victim wouldn't have suffered much if you had delayed a little longer.

You Didn't Cause the Danger

You can't use this defense if you are the one who caused the danger in the first place. Take an example where, in a fit of road rage, you end up causing another person to lose consciousness. You won't be able to use the necessity defense if you are arrested while driving the person to the hospital because you are the cause of the danger.

You Didn't Have a Viable Alternative

This is another thing the court will be interested in; you aren't allowed to use the necessity defense just because you were faced with an imminent danger. You need to prove that driving while drunk was the only thing that could have prevented the danger. For example, if you were arrested while driving an injured person to the emergency room, the court can claim that you could have called an ambulance or let another person drive the victim to the hospital.  You can only succeed with this defense if you can prove that none of those defenses, or any other, was available for you.

You Prevented a Greater Harm than Your DUI

Lastly, you also need to prove that the danger you were trying to avoid was greater than the one you committed (driving while intoxicated). For example, you wouldn't succeed with the necessity defense by claiming that you had to get your kid breakfast because you woke up with nothing in the fridge. This is because driving while drunk is worse than letting your kid eat a delayed breakfast.  

Defending a DUI isn't easy, especially for a novice. Let a criminal defense attorney, like one from Law Offices of Alyson L. Sommers, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorney, handle the defense on your behalf.