Someone who is accused of drunk driving in North Dakota may have several different defenses upon which to rely. There are defense approaches that are more common than others, and what is chosen will necessarily depend on the individual situation.
Defense attorneys often choose to challenge the officer’s observations of their clients. Other defenses may include challenging the breath or blood test results, the preliminary breath test or other roadside tests. Other common strategies that may be used include challenging an improper stop by the officer, chain of custody problems with a blood sample and rising blood alcohol concentrations due to the recency of consumption.
Affirmative defenses may also exist. For example, a person may assert they drove out of necessity in order to prevent something worse from happening. People may have driven drunk out of duress, whether by threat or force or to escape a potential personal injury. Some may be able to provide evidence of mistake of fact, such as in situations in which they believed their prescription medication was no longer affecting them. People may also argue a defense of involuntary intoxication, such as when a person was are unaware the drink they consumed was spiked with alcohol. An argument for entrapment may lie if an officer coerced a person into driving drunk who otherwise would not have done so.
There are many possible defenses to an impaired driving charge. Choosing the strategy to employ will necessarily depend on what occurred prior to and during the driver’s stop and subsequent arrest. Those who are charged with drunk driving can often benefit by seeking the help of a criminal defense attorney who has experience in DUI representation.
Source: FindLaw, “Defenses to Drunk Driving”, accessed on Feb. 2, 2015.