Can Intent to Drive negate a Charge of DUI?

DUISimply put, no. Intent is not an element of the offense of DUI and lack of intent is not a recognized defense to DUI. A recent Writ of Certiorari went before the 1st District Court to determine whether it was proper for the trial court to grant the State’s motion to preclude the petitioner from giving testimony and evidence regarding his lack of intent to drive as a defense and to negate his charges of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). This Court ruled the trial courts decision to grant the State’s motion was proper and therefore denies the petitioners Writ of Certiorari.

This petition stems from the criminal DUI trial of Eugene McCosky. At the beginning of the trial the State filed an Omnibus Motion in Limine (basically a motion to limit testimony and evidence pertaining to a certain issue). The State wanted to prevent the defendant from arguing the State was required to prove intent to drive in order to convict him of DUI.

The defendant wanted to argue that on the night in question he had no intention of driving the vehicle, but was just waiting inside with the radio on until a friend came and picked him up. The court granted the State’s motion on the grounds that under Fla. Stat. 316.193, a person is guilty of DUI of the person is driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle… The State argued and the court agreed intent is not an element of the crime charged and although defendants are allowed to argue defenses, intent in this regards is not a valid defense theory under Florida law. Therefore, the defendant’s testimony and evidence would only confuse, mislead, and prejudice the jury.

Although this defendant was not able to overcome the evidence against him, a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer can challenge the State’s case and determine what defenses and justification may be applicable in your case. Criminal charges can be live altering, especially if you take on the legal system without legal representation. If have been charged with a criminal offense or have pending criminal charges, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss you case and determine what is the best course of action in moving forward in your case.

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