I Did Not Intent to Drive Drunk

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 06, 2017 | 0 Comments

There is a great misunderstanding about Georgia's law on intent.  The confusion starts with the fact Judges instruct juries that: "Intent is an essential element of a crime and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt." 

Naturally, no person sets out to be arrested for DUI.  It can be argued that no person sets out to be arrested for any offense.  However, from a client's perspective, the intent insofar as DUI cases are concerned, is different than other criminal offenses. 

For example, when a person commits a burglary, he or sure must take active steps towards that end.  They need actual intent to commit the crime.

With DUI, no one takes active steps with the intent to commit the crime.  As a result, people will argue to me that there were exigent circumstances that lead to their arrests.  As a result, they had no intent, and without it, they cannot be prosecuted.

The reasoning is flawed.  Intent does not exclusively mean that someone has set out to commit a crime.  When a person sets out to voluntarily do something that ends in their arrest, that is the proof of their intent. 

Change of Plan:

Our office has handled several cases where the driver realizes that he or she is unsafe to drive, and as a result pulls over.  Does this mean they did not have the intent to drive?  Unfortunately, it does not.  The act of driving under the influence occurs with the physical control of the motor vehicle.  A key in the ignition is enough to establish control.  

However, I have argued that pulling over is a better choice than continuing to drive.  It is the right thing to do and can be used by your attorney, as a moral argument to a jury.   

In fact, I have turned it around against the state and argued that to punish someone who has pulled over encourages drivers to try to make it home, risking us all.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Georgia, call Gwinnett County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson.  We are here to help.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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