Articles Tagged with Defense to DUI

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Not in Illinois.  In Illinois for a person to be found guilty of DUI all the state needs to prove are the following:

1.  That the defendant drove, or was in actual physical control of a vehicle; and

2.  That at the time the defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle, the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.  Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction Criminal 23.14

This recently became an issue in the news because lawyers for three people convicted of murder in New York claimed that they were too drunk to know what they were doing and therefore their convictions should be reversed.

Being too drunk is not a defense because the State does not have to prove the defendant guilty of “intent.”  There is no intent to drive drunk like there would be in a charge of residential burglary which is a specific intent crime requiring the defendant to have the specific intent, the mental state, to commit a felony or theft.  A person under the law is said to act with intent when he engages in conduct and has a conscious objective to accomplish that result.  720 Illinois Complied Statutes 5/4-4.  So voluntary intoxication is a defense to a specific intent crime.  DUI is not a specific intent crime.

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