DUI Defenses – Duress and Entrapment

DUI Duress, in a legal sense, is breaking a law because something or someone else is making you break the law. It is the use of force, false imprisonment or threats (and possibly psychological torture or “brainwashing”) to compel someone to act contrary to his/her wishes or interests. An example of duress in a DUI-DWI case would be if someone put a gun to your head and made you drive them to another location even though you protested that you could not drive safely because you were intoxicated.

This is a very rare “affirmative defense” in a DUI-DWI case. Furthermore, notice of such a defense to the prosecutor may be required prior to trial. Your DUI-DWI specialist will know the applicable rules in your state in the event this affirmative defense is being considered on your behalf.

DUI Entrapment Defense

In criminal law, DUI entrapment is the act of law enforcement officers or government agents inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the accused party indicates no prior intent or action to commit the crime on his or her own accord. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission of a crime or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the supposed “criminal.” Entrapment, if proved, is a complete defense to a criminal prosecution.

Like duress, entrapment is an unlikely defense in a DUI-DWI case. Again, pre-trial notice of this affirmative defense is likely part of your state law. Your experienced DUI-DWI attorney will know how and when to raise it.
One example of “entrapment” might be found in this DUI-DWI fact pattern. An intoxicated man walks out of a bar, having consumed all of his alcohol after he stopped driving earlier. An officer sees the man and says, “If you don’t get off the street this minute, I am going to arrest you for public intoxication.”

The driver says, “Okay, if you insist, but I am not going to try to drive anywhere” and walks to his car and sits in the front seat behind the wheel. The bar has closed and it is freezing outside. The man sits behind the wheel and starts the engine to use the heater in the vehicle. If the police officer arrests him for DUI-DWI, this could be a foundation to assert the legal defense of “entrapment.”