Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity Defense to DUI/DWI

Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity Defense to DUI/DWI

Although a defense of not guilty to drunk driving by reason of insanity may seem a bit far-fetched, this defense has worked in some cases. If a defendant asserts a defense of insanity, he is essentially asking the court to declare him legally insane.

Whether a defendant can successfully defend a drunk driving charge on the grounds of insanity will depend on how his or her state defines insanity. In states that follow what is called a McNaughten standard, the defendant must show that he or she suffered from brain damage caused by alcoholism and that the brain damage resulted in the defendant being unable to distinguish right from wrong.

In states following an irresistible impulse standard, the defendant must show that alcoholism caused such an addiction that the defendant could not resist a compulsion to drink. Unfortunately, the defense will be difficult to prove because the defendant will also have to show that at the same time he or she suffered from a compulsion to drive that could not be resisted.

The defense of not guilty by reason of insanity is a defense that will be difficult to establish in most cases. If you have been charged with DUI or DWI and believe that you are not guilty by reason of insanity, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can advise you on how to proceed in order to best protect your legal rights.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.