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Did Driving Under Duress Lead to A DUI Charge?

The Law Office of Joel M. Bacher June 30, 2021

The idea of facing a DUI charge may never have crossed your mind. After all, you make sure to drink responsibly, and if you feel like you’ve had too much, you make sure to get a taxi or allow a sober friend to drive. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, you found yourself in a difficult scenario and felt that you had to drive under the influence.

Perhaps you felt you were in a dangerous situation, such as if someone threatened you or made you otherwise believe that you would suffer harm if you stayed where you were. If so, you may have felt the need to get in your vehicle and drive away from the danger as quickly as possible. Regrettably, an officer may have stopped your vehicle.

Is Duress a Good Reason?

While some New Jersey officers may not believe that any good reason exists for driving under the influence of alcohol, you — and a jury — may feel differently. After all, if you feared for your life, you may not have thought twice about getting in your vehicle in hopes of avoiding harm or worse. Duress and necessity could both play a part in your criminal defense against a DUI charge if you feel they apply. Of course, you would need to provide support for your argument, showing that you were, indeed, under duress.

What Other Defense Options Are There?

The exact manner in which you could defend against a DUI charge depends on the circumstances. Perhaps someone could claim that he or she became intoxicated involuntarily, such as if someone spiked a drink or told the person the beverages were nonalcoholic. At the time, the person may not have known he or she was intoxicated because the person honestly believed he or she had not consumed alcohol.

It may also be possible to bring the conduct of the police officers into question. Perhaps the officer who conducted the traffic stop did not have a valid reason for stopping you in the first place, or maybe the officer did not administer field sobriety or breath tests accurately, which could result in that evidence becoming inadmissible in court.

Assessing Your Case

You may feel confused, concerned and worried about your future. However, it is important to keep in mind that you have legal rights and options for handling this predicament. Thoroughly assessing the details of your case and exploring your available defense strategies may allow you to handle your case as well as possible.