Woman Leaves Child At Grocery Store, Turns Out She Was Just Drunk
A woman was caught by police speeding toward Publix after she thought she forgot her baby there. The baby was safe and sound, still at home, but the woman is now facing a DUI charge. The woman was caught doing about 70 mph in a 35 mph zone, weaving in and out of traffic on her way back to her baby.
Eventually, an officer in an unmarked SUV caught up with the woman. The woman allegedly blew through several stop signs and committed other traffic infractions. The suspect did not stop even when she saw other shoppers coming from the Publix.
By the time she stopped her car, she ran out saying, “Where’s my baby?” The woman continued asking the same question. Police say her breath smelled of alcohol. They also confiscated a syringe and some folded tinfoil with a white powder on it. Police believed that the substance was fentanyl. The woman has been charged with DUI, possession of heroin, reckless driving, evading arrest, and whatever else they could throw at her.
Necessity as a Defense to Drunk Driving
Despite what you may have heard, there are defenses to drunk driving that involve admitting that you were drunk while you were operating a motor vehicle. This is known as “the greater evil” defense. If getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while you are intoxicated prevents an even worse outcome, say, someone stealing the baby you left at Publix, you could argue that you weighed the costs and decided to do it anyway and that any reasonable person would have done the same thing. The reasonable person standard is important here because it would basically exclude someone who was jacked up on heroin speeding back to Publix to recover a baby that wasn’t with them while they were at the store.
How does a “greater evil” defense work? Essentially, the defendant admits to the elements of the crime (an affirmative defense). They say, “Yes, I was drunk. But I had no other choice and driving under the influence would prevent an even greater evil than potentially endangering the lives of others.” If the woman had left her baby there, she might have a defense. However, leaving your baby somewhere while you’re intoxicated is a different crime, child endangerment, and the impetus for driving drunk cannot be the commission of another crime.
Indeed, there are precious few situations where someone would be forced behind the wheel of a vehicle to avoid an even worse outcome. For those who are wondering if the emergency medical situation of a family member would count, the answer is no. You can always call an ambulance. It would be hard to think of any scenario in which a person would be required to get behind the wheel of a car without any other options. Perhaps if they were being chased by a gunman. Either way, this woman will likely face charges related to her drug problems and unlawful operation of a motor vehicle and her right to maintain custody of her child will be a separate issue the court will decide.
Talk to an Orlando DUI Attorney
FL DUI Group represents the interests of those charged with DUI in Orlando. Call our Florida DUI defense attorneys today to discuss your charges in detail and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.