Necessity to Drive Under the Influence?


The defense of Necessity is based on the rationale that there are circumstances in life when a person may be faced with the dilemma of being harmed (or watching a third person being harmed) or breaking the law to avoid the harm. While it is generally difficult to convince the Court to instruct the jury on a Necessity defense it is particularly difficult in the context of a DUI case. This newsletter documents one case where the author achieved a NOT GUILTY verdict on a high Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)case where the defense asserted was Necessity. The court agreed the facts supported the jury being instructed on the Necessity defense and the Jury found that the client did not intend to drive under the influence but rather only did so out of Necessity to avoid a greater harm.

The document also provides reference to a new "Pilot Program" in California requiring installation of Ignition Interlock Devices for all persons convicted of a first time DUI in four (Pilot Counties). As is generally the case for all things DUI, this program is likely the first step to amending the mandatory minimum statutory probation terms to include installation of Ignition Interlock Devices (IID). The document is also a follow up on the prior newsletter from this author regarding the fuel cell technology that drives the Ignition Interlock Devices and Portable Breath Testing devices (Roadside Breath Testing Devices).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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