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Are there extenuating circumstances that excuse drunk driving?

The state of Louisiana has the capacity to issue serious penalties for those who are charged with driving under the influence. Anyone who faces such charges must also make the decision of whether to contest the charges or simply accept punishment. 

But, what happens if you find yourself in circumstances beyond your control that lead you to get behind the wheel while under the influence? It may be possible to defend yourself against drunk driving charges if you can prove that, despite being legally intoxicated, you had a legitimate reason to be on the road. The following are what are called "affirmative defenses," which may be made as part of a defense:

  • If the defendant lacked other options and thus driving was a necessity. The defendant must prove that they were faced with some “greater evil,” the avoidance of which superseded the possible harm a DUI could cause.
  • If the defendant was compelled to drive due to being under duress caused by a threat of some kind that may have led them to be injured or killed.
  • If the defendant had become intoxicated by unknowingly consuming alcohol from such sources as a "spiked" punch.
  • If the driver is entrapped by virtue of a police officer requesting they drive drunk. It must be proven by the defendant that the alleged entrapment overrode their predisposition to not drive drunk.

The penalties you could receive for driving while intoxicated can include fines, license suspension and even jail time. Additionally, the severity of punishments can increase with each successive conviction. Therefore, if extenuating circumstances placed you behind the wheel while impaired, you may wish to consider making that fact a part of your defense.

A Louisiana attorney could look at the specifics of your case, including the arrest record. The attorney could then help you explore your various possible legal responses.

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