San Francisco jury finds woman not guilty of DUI

A jury in San Francisco recently heard evidence against a woman accused of driving under the influence. At the conclusion of the trial, the woman was acquitted of all charges.

The 25-year-old Butte County woman says that she was in San Francisco in September 2013 with her boyfriend to attend a San Francisco 49ers game. The couple had a few cocktails to celebrate the boyfriend’s birthday. But, the woman says that she and her boyfriend had a dispute after he was thrown out of a bar. She walked from the bar back to her hotel alone, hoping to get some sleep.

She says that her boyfriend woke her up by pounding on the door. When she answered the knocks at the door, she says that she was attacked. She fled the room and was later pulled over by California Highway Patrol officers after she allegedly pulled onto Bryant Street heading in the wrong direction.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI. At trial, her criminal defense argued that she had no other reasonable alternative than to drive to avoid a greater harm. The jury deliberated for several hours before handing down not guilty verdicts on all of the DUI charges that authorities had brought. The jury acquitted the woman of the DUI charges after finding that it was necessary under the circumstances for her to avoid the alleged domestic violence at the hotel, according to the Contra Costa Times.

When people think of criminal defense, the typical thought begins with legal arguments to suppress evidence, or challenges to the facts presented by prosecutors. But, in appropriate cases, a person accused of a crime may have a defense that the alleged facts are justifiable under the law.

These affirmative defenses, such as the necessity defense, are complicated. A criminal defense to charges may involve many elements that must be satisfied.

Source: Contra Costa Times, “San Francisco: Woman acquitted of DUI incurred while fleeing violent boyfriend,” Associated Press, Jan. 31, 2014

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