Annie came to us overwhelmed with a three-headed monster of traffic charges from which there seemed no escape.  In the wee hours of a morning, she got tickets in two different towns- Spartanburg and Cowpens-  for:

  • Speeding more than 30 miles over the limit, a $355.00 fine.
  • Less than an hour later, DUI. 
  • On top of that, her driver’s license got suspended for refusing the DUI breath test.

With our help, Annie never got convicted of any of those charges.  To do that, we used an unlikely strategy (from what people expect of criminal defense lawyers from TV and movies, anyway). We used the truth.  And we used it to build a rare defense: involuntary intoxication. 

The night of her arrest, Annie didn’t drink a drop.  But earlier that day, she did get prescribed new medications by her psychiatrist.  A side effect of them made her forget she took them.  The night of her arrest, she took so much medication without knowing, it impaired her driving.  She actually had no idea she drove that night. 

We weren’t the only vital players in building this defense. First, Annie helped us by helping herself.  As soon as she got out of jail from her arrest, she reported it to her psychiatrist.  He changed her medication immediately, recognizing the accidental overdose and its effects on her. 

Second, we enlisted the doctor’s help by instructing Annie to get a letter from him, documenting the facts leading to the accidental overdose and presenting his medical conclusion the overdose caused her involuntary intoxication.  He also confirmed changing her prescription. 

We presented this letter to both officers.  After some negotiation, they became willing to compromise what at first seemed like an airtight case. Realizing no defense is totally guaranteed, Annie wisely accepted this resolution we secured:

  • Speeding ticket reduced to less than 10 miles over the limit and an $81.00 fine. 
  • DUI dismissed with a plea to reckless driving. 

As for the license suspension, we helped Annie get a temporary license by contesting the suspension with an administrative hearing. The arresting trooper did not appear at the hearing, causing Annie to win that by default to get her license back.

While many of our DUI clients typically have no criminal record, Annie had a lot to lose with a conviction.  A college student with a solid GPA, a conviction could cost job opportunities, since DUIs never go off your criminal record.  We’re thrilled to be a part of her solution keeping her criminal record clear of the DUI and getting three separate cases behind her in just a few short months.  Now she can move on and continue being productive, headed towards what’s no doubt a bright future.

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.