Necessity Defense: Los Angeles DUI

September 20, 2022

California Law Permits Necessity Defense in Criminal Cases. The Necessity Defense can be found in CALCRIM 3403, a jury instruction that can be used in DUI cases. To establish the necessity defense, the defendant must prove:

  • he or she acted in an emergency to prevent significant bodily harm or evil to himself, herself, or someone else
  • he or she had no adequate legal alternatives
  • his or her acts did not create a greater danger than one avoided
  • when the defendant acted, he or she actually believed that the act was necessary to prevent the threatened harm or evil
  • A reasonable person would also have believed that the act was necessary under the circumstances
  • The defendant did not contribute to the emergency.

Also, as CALCRIM 3403 explains, the defendant has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard of proof is different than the standard of proof in criminal cases, which is beyond a reasonable doubt. The preponderance of the evidence requires to show that each of the 6 listed items above are more likely than not to be true.

For a DUI arrest in Los Angeles, this defense can be used to show how a driver drove to avoid harm. For example, a defense available to a Los Angeles DUI driver is that he was going to a hospital due to a medical emergency. Another defense available to a DUI driver is that he was fleeing a crime or some danger to himself.

A corollary to this is a defense of DURESS or threats which is when someone forces a person to commit a crime. Defense of Duress can be used when someone is impaired but is forced to drive by another person and is arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles.

If you want to talk to a DUI defense attorney, please call us directly at 323-464-6424. We will be happy to discuss how we can win your DUI case Los Angeles

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