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Drunk driving charges are never something you want to face, but, in some cases, driving while intoxicated is either beyond your control or the best of several bad options. While they are not very common, some defenses of drunk driving don't attempt to discount the charges themselves, but rather choose to justify the choice to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Depending on your circumstances, an affirmative DUI defense may be your best choice.

If a person drinks and then chooses to drive because of some great need or great threat that outweighs the danger of drinking and driving, then they may successfully defend against DUI charges. This might occur if two friends are drinking while doing some leisure activity and one of them suffers an injury. In this case, the other friend might rightfully choose to drive his or her injured friend to a hospital, despite intoxication.

Similarly, if a person chooses to drink and drive because of some impending threat of harm or while under duress, this might successfully defend against DUI charges. If, for instance, a woman has several drinks before a man threatens her with violence, she could flee in a vehicle and claim she was driving while intoxicated because of the threat of harm. Similarly, if a person drives while intoxicated because another person compels them to do so with force, they can claim duress.

While this does not mean that it is safe to drive while intoxicated, each person should retain the right to protect themselves or others and have the agency to drive after drinking if necessary. If you face drunk driving charges and believe that one of these justifications applies to your circumstances, don't hesitate to consult with an attorney who can help you build a strong defense.

Source: Findlaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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