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. Continue reading →