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California Court Dismisses DUI Charges Against Woman Fleeing Due to Domestic Violence

In Illinois and most other states, people can be arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol, no matter how short of a journey they take. In some instances, though, extenuating circumstances may make a court view acts that are grounds for a DUI arrest more leniently. This was demonstrated in a recent California case in which the court dismissed DUI charges against a woman who drove 30 feet as she was attempting to flee an abusive boyfriend. If you are faced with accusations that you drove while intoxicated, you should meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to determine your options.

The California DUI Case

It is reported that a California judge dismissed a DUI case against a woman who was charged with a misdemeanor DUI for driving 30 feet to escape an abusive boyfriend. The woman had called the police after being threatened and hit by her boyfriend, but officers left her with him in his van. Later, fearing for her safety, she moved her car to a different parking spot and was arrested for DUI. The initial trial ended in a mistrial when the jury could not agree on her culpability. The District Attorney’s Office sought a retrial, but the woman’s lawyer argued that she had moved her car out of necessity to protect herself.

Allegedly, the judge agreed with the woman’s lawyer and dismissed the case, citing the necessity defense, which is akin to self-defense in murder trials. The judge believed that the woman had acted out of necessity due to the danger she faced from her abusive boyfriend. He noted that while DUI is a serious offense, the circumstances mattered, and the woman had only driven a short distance late at night in an almost empty parking lot at low speed.

Illinois’ DUI Law

The Illinois courts have not ruled on an issue similar to the one presented in the California case. Instead, DUI cases are governed solely by Illinois’s DUI statute, which establishes that it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof to the extent that it impairs their ability to drive safely. The statute also sets the legal BAC limit at 0.08%, making it an offense to drive with a BAC at or above this level.

The statute also outlines the procedures for chemical testing of a person’s breath, blood, or urine to determine their BAC or the presence of drugs. It also establishes penalties for DUI offenses, which may include fines, driver’s license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even potential incarceration, particularly for multiple DUI convictions. Illinois has an implied consent law, which means that by driving on the state’s roads, individuals consent to submit to chemical testing when lawfully arrested for DUI.

Meet with an Experienced Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

Under Illinois law, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, but the prosecution often lacks sufficient evidence to convict a person charged with a DUI offense. If you are faced with DUI charges, it is advisable to meet with an attorney. Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is an experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney who can aid you in taking the measures necessary to protect your rights. You can contact Mr. Harvatin via the online form or by calling 217.525.0520 to schedule a conference.

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