There are
many legal challenges and defenses available to defendants in a DUI case. One
of these defenses is an “affirmative defense.” An affirmative defense is one in
which the defendant argues that, even if the allegations of the indictment or
accusation are true, there are circumstances that support a determination that
he cannot or should not be held criminally liable. In the context of a DUI, the
defendant would be arguing to the judge or jury that the defendant was in fact
DUI, but the defendant is justified or excused in driving under the influence.
One justification defense[1] to DUI is “necessity.”   

Under
federal law[2], the
doctrine of necessity requires:

1) the
defendant reasonably believed that a danger or emergency existed that he did
not intentionally cause; 2) the danger or emergency threatened significant harm
to himself or a third person; 3) the threatened harm must have been real,
imminent, and impending; 4) the defendant had no reasonable means to avoid the
danger or emergency except by committing the crime; 5) the crime must have been
committed out of duress to avoid the danger or emergency; and 6) the harm the
defendant avoided outweighs the harm caused by committing the crime.

In 1991, the
Georgia Supreme Court reversed a conviction for DUI because a jury could have
found driving under the influence was justified when Defendant was driving 8 ½
month pregnant wife to the doctor.[3] 

Contact Us

If you or
someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact
the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999
 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta DUI
attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more
detailed information about Atlanta laws here.


[1]
O.C.G.A. § 16-3-20

[2] Manners
v. Cannella, 891 F.3d 959, 11th Cir. (2018)

[3] Tarvestad
v. State, 261 Ga. 605 (1991)