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Are there defenses to drunk driving accidents?

Involvement in any car accident is always concerning but being in a drunk driving accident seems to carry with it a certain stigma because of the nature and circumstances surrounding the accident. Unlike other car related accidents, drunk driving accidents occur because of the actions of the driver not in spite of those actions. Accidents involving drunk drivers tend to leave the victims in the accidents seriously injured or dead. The victims in crashes of this kind can look to the legal system to be made whole.

Where an accident victim in a drunk driving collision wants to sue for damages in court, they have the burden of proof in the case. Since most accidents cases are based in negligence, the victim would have to prove the elements of negligence, which include a duty, breach of duty and that the breach proximately caused the injuries suffered in the accident. Negligence cases are not easy to prove because the other side will most likely provide defenses to the claim.

Although it may sound unfathomable that there are defenses to a drunk driving accident, defenses do exist. In court, each side has the chance to put forth information to support their claim. There are a number of defenses that could work in a drunk driving accident case on behalf of the drunk driver. Affirmative defenses as well as some common defenses are available.

For instance, involuntary intoxication, duress and necessity are affirmative defenses that can be utilized. Other defenses include but are not limited to questioning the breathalyzer test, the field sobriety test and the chain of custody.

Source:, “Defenses to Drunk Driving,” Accessed on Feb. 19, 2015