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Can You Be Charged As An Accomplice To Drunk Driving

(Last Updated On: October 23, 2018)

Are You an Accomplice To Drunk Driving?

In Arizona the laws regarding driving under the influence, or DUI, can be difficult to understand.

There are many charges that can be brought against someone who is suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, but can someone be charged as an accomplice to driving under the influence?

More and more instances are popping up involving a passenger having to face criminal charges in drunk driving cases.


All About Intent

In some cases the charges have been dropped because driving under the influence is considered a “general intent” crime, meaning that the defendant was reckless or negligent and perhaps intended to commit the crime.

A “specific intent” crime on the other hand, refers to a situation where the defendant intended to commit the crime and intended to have the result occur. In other words, manslaughter or arson are considered “general intent” crimes whereas murder or conspiracy are considered “specific intent” crimes.

DUI is considered to be a “general intent” crime, which makes it more difficult to charge someone as being an accomplice to it.

But some judges and states have decided that there are grounds for seeking prosecution of involved parties that were not driving in DUI cases.


What About Persuasion?

In cases involving a person convincing or persuading someone to drive while intoxicated, charges have often stuck.

A case in Maine from 1991 involved two friends who had been drinking together, and when they left the bar, the owner of the vehicle gave his keys to his less intoxicated friend. The car was stopped and the owner was arrested.

A jury found that there was enough evidence of intent and solicitation, resulting in accomplice liability. But cases involving a person simply failing to prevent someone from driving under the influence have resulted in charges of being an accomplice to a crime.

It seems that many courts have found that the act of letting a friend drive drunk can lead to a party being held criminally liable as having aided and abetted in conducting the crime.

In any Arizona drunk driving case, it is incredibly important to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side.

If you have been charged with a crime call the Thrush Law Group in Phoenix or Tucson to speak to a qualified DUI lawyer immediately.

Posted in Arizona DUI Law.

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