Affirmative Defenses for DUI in Arizona

affirmative defenses for dui

Affirmative Defenses for DUI in Arizona

affirmative defenses for duiA driver accused of DUI, an acronym that refers to drunk driving, needs the assistance of an attorney to stand any chance of enjoying a just result.  An experienced DUI attorney will review the case in-depth, develop the appropriate legal strategy and fiercely push for justice.  Attorneys sometimes rely on affirmative defenses when defending clients against DUI charges.

Affirmative Defenses Against DUI: Duress

In some situations, the accused party operates the vehicle to avoid death or serious injury.  If this is the case, the defendant was acting under duress.  Consider a situation in which someone who owns a vehicle has been drinking and is threatened by someone else to drive or face violent consequences. He drives drunk as he fears for his life.  This is an example of an individual acting under duress.


If a police officer encourages a driver to drive when under the influence or consume alcohol, drugs or become intoxicated in another manner, he or she is guilty of entrapment.  It is up to the defendant’s attorney to prove the accused would not have been predisposed to operate the vehicle if not for the police officer’s attempt to entrap.


There are some instances in which it is necessary to drive in order to stop an even worse outcome.  Let a skilled attorney handle your DUI case and he or she just might be able to prove there were no other options and the overarching evil was that much more significant than the possible harm that could be caused by drunk driving.

As an example, consider an individual who had several beers on a Friday evening following a long day of work.  He heads home to find his wife unconscious on the kitchen floor.  The hospital is only a couple minutes away so he starts to drive.  He is pulled over and accused of drunk driving.  In this situation, the necessity defense has merit as the defendant’s actions really could have prevented an even worse evil: the death of a human being.

Involuntary Intoxication

Though uncommon, it is possible for someone to drink alcohol without knowing it, get behind the wheel and ultimately end up being pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol.  If you unknowingly ingest alcohol and your attorney can prove your drink was spiked unbeknownst to you, the involuntary intoxication affirmative defense just might work.

The Mistake of Fact Defense

Some DUI attorneys have succeeded in the courtroom arguing their client did not know they were intoxicated.  This is possible if the driver was unaware a medication caused impairment.  If your attorney is savvy enough and willing to document the medical condition along with the prescription in question, this defense just might get you off the hook or at least prompt a less severe charge.

Additional Drunk Driving Defenses

Hardworking, creative and diligent attorneys will do their homework before deciding on the best possible legal defense strategy.  Savvy attorneys are detail-oriented researchers who turn over every rock in the quest for evidence.  All sorts of additional drunk driving defenses are available aside from those detailed above.  As an example, some attorneys have successfully argued the police officer who pulled over their client did not have legitimate probable cause to perform the traffic stop.  If the police officer does not have a valid reason to pull over the driver in question, it is possible the DUI charge will be dismissed or at least reduced to a lesser charge.

Even the administration of the portable breathalyzer test can be scrutinized and used as a successful defense against a DUI charge.  Some portable breathalyzers generate inaccurate results as they have not been properly calibrated.  In other cases, the police officer fails to properly administer the breathalyzer test.  It can also be argued the police officer failed to properly administer a field sobriety test, resulting in an inaccurate assessment.

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