Duress Defense

DUI attorneys occasionally assume responsibiltty for a case whereby someone had forced an impaired person to drive. That person may then attempt to raise the defense of duress.

This defense is generally available where there is evidence that the defendant committed the crime involuntarily because of circumstances which constituted a real, imminent, and impending danger to the defendant or a loved one. Occasionally, someone forces an impaired person to drive. That person may then attempt to raise the defense of duress.This defense is generally available where there is evidence that the defendant committed the crime involuntarily because of circumstances which constituted a real, imminent, and impending danger to the defendant or a loved one. Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys argue that the defense is available where the evidence shows that the defendant believed and had reasonable grounds to believe that the danger was real, imminent, and impending and committed the crime for that reason.The Florida Supreme Court has approved one standard jury instruction for both duress and necessity.

The Defense of Duress in Florida is Tricky Claims Broward County DUI Lawyer William Moore:

As with entrapment, there are no Florida cases directly on point, so Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys rely on Morrison v. State supports the availability of such a defense in a DUI case. In Morrison, the defendant was accused of driving the get-away car in a robbery. In that case, there was evidence that the co-defendant threatened physical harm to the defendant if she did not drive. There was also evidence that the co-defendant continued to curse and direct her while she was driving and that the defendant was hysterical and crying. The court ruled that the trial judge erred in denying an instruction on duress.Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys also argue that courts of other states have considered the availability of a duress defense. In People v. Pena, the court approved the defense where the defendant claimed that he drove because a deputy took the defendant's girlfriend away under peculiar circumstances that caused him to fear for her safety. In State v. Fogarty, the court rejected the defense because, while officers ordered the defendant to leave the scene of a disturbance, they did not order him to get drunk or drive drunk. These officers did not know the defendant was intoxicated and the defendant did not tell them. Furthermore, fear of a lawful arrest cannot be the foundation for a duress defense. Finally, in State v. Riedl, the court rejected the defense claim that a duress instruction was appropriate because the defendant feared that some men at a bar would harm him. The court pointed out that the defendant drove for about five miles and there was no showing that the threatening men were continually in pursuit.