If you are arrested for drunk driving in Flint, you have the right to defend yourself against the criminal charges that you are facing. There are different potential defenses that you could raise depending upon your specific circumstances. A DUI defense lawyer can provide you with advice on whether you have options for defenses available to you and can help you to choose what approach you should take to try to avoid drunk driving penalties.
Some lawmakers are now considering making a change to their state's drunk driving laws in order to add a new potential defense. The change is being proposed in response to a case where a woman lost her license to drive under automatic driver's license suspension rules in the state. Many people viewed her driver's license suspension to be unfair based on the circumstances, and lawmakers are taking action to try to correct the problem.
Risk to Safety Could be a Defense to Drunk Driving
MPR News reported that lawmakers in Minnesota are considering adding a defense to drunk driving charges for people who believe they have no choice but to drive drunk because their personal safety is at risk.
The lawmakers' efforts were prompted by a woman who had her license suspended for leaving her cabin and driving one mile to safety. She had gotten into a fight with her husband and was afraid of becoming a victim of domestic violence, so she got in her car and left even though she had consumed enough alcohol at dinner that she was over the state's legal limit. Her license suspension was automatic under the state's implied consent laws and she was not able to raise the defense that her safety was at risk in the civil proceedings.
The case made it all the way to the state Supreme Court, and a divided court held that there was no exception to state DUI laws for people in her situation. The Chief Justice indicated that if the legislature wanted to carve out an exception to allow people who were in danger to avoid losing their license under DUI laws, the legislature would have to take that action. Republicans and democrats came together to create a proposed bill that would add a defense allowing people to keep their license after a DUI if they could prove their safety was at risk.
If the law passes, it will apply only in the state. However, necessity is a defense that could potentially be used in Michigan and nationwide by people who have been accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol. If personal safety is truly at risk and you have no choice but to get in the car because you are in danger, you can make an argument that you should not be found guilty of driving drunk even if you were over-the-limit.
Because necessity is not always an accepted or effective defense, it is very important to talk to a lawyer about whether this is an option in your drunk driving case or whether other defenses may be a better option.
Contact Michigan criminal defense lawyer Michael P. Manley today at (810) 238-0500 or visit bvimanleystg.wpengine.com to schedule a consultation. Serving Flint and all of Michigan.