My client was charged with DUI after being held at gunpoint and forced to drive.

The Situation: My client had an armed gunman come to his house and force him to drive to an ATM.  He and his two friends drove to a gas station with the gunman following behind him and asked the store clerk to call the police.  The police arrived and arrested my client for DUI.

My client and his two friends requested an escort on craigslist.com.  A few hours later a man showed up at his house with a gun.  The man brandished the gun and told them they needed to pay him.  My client told the man he didn’t have any money.  The man forced him to drive to an ATM to get cash.  My client and his two friends complied against their will even though they had been drinking.  The man followed behind them in a black Lincoln Navigator.

At the first opportunity my client pulled into a gas station.  He contacted the store clerk, explained the situation, and requested he call the police.  The store clerk called the police who showed up a few minutes later.  The police arrived and took a report from my client.  The officer, noticing that my client had been drinking, arrested him for DUI.

The DA decided to prosecute because my client had a prior DUI.

The Result: Case was dismissed at the eleventh hour based on defense theory of duress.

As a criminal defense attorney, I realized my client had a valid defense based on duress.   Essentially, Duress is a complete defense to a crime when, because of threat or menace, the defendant believed that his life would be in immediate danger if he refused a demand or request to commit the crime.  This being the case, I had to gather evidence supporting my client’s theory.

The first thing I did was investigate the facts.  I interviewed my client’s two friends who were potential witnesses in the case.  The confirmed my client’s story.  Then, I subpoenaed the surveillance video from the gas station.  The video showed my client pulling into the gas station.  He was being followed by a black Lincoln Navigator.  My client is seen entering the store.  A few minutes later the police arrive and the Lincoln Navigator immediately flees the scene.

I presented this video to the prosecution as well as the witness statements.  The prosecution pushed for a settlement for lesser charges, but me and my client held strong on our request for a dismissal.  The night before the trial, the prosecution informed me they decided to dismiss the case.

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