Can a California DUI Be Caused By Stress?

Posted by Troy Slaten | Nov 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

Law Enforcement have heard a lot of excuses for driving under the influence (DUI), but this may be a new one. Dina Lohan, the 51 year old mother of troubled actress Lindsey Lohan was arrested for DUI in September after she was stopped by police for speeding and she was accused of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration that was reportedly over twice the legal limit.

She plead not guilty to the charges and her attorney, Mark Heller, alleged that her arrest was due to stress and harassment by the paparazzi. After a routine hearing in October, he spoke to the media and said:

It is the professional opinion of the evaluator that the circumstances leading to Dina's arrest were largely caused by ongoing daily stresses caused by you folks the paparazzi, media attention and distorted tabloid character profiles.

Lohan is no stranger to DUI court. Though this is her first time facing DUI charges, her daughter Lindsey's multiple DUI arrests were well documented by the media. Perhaps this is why she chose this particular defense.

Being under a lot of stress is not a valid excuse for driving while intoxicated and it does not explain the results of her chemical sobriety test. In California, a person  can be charged with alcohol related DUI if they are driving a vehicle and either have a BAC of .08% or more or exhibit signs of impairment. So even if Lohan's lawyer is correct and stress was the cause of her speeding, if she had consumed any alcohol at all, she could still be considered guilty of DUI for driving while impaired.

Her attorney's statement did not make it clear if this is a defense that she is going to use during her trial as well. It will be interesting to see the results if she does go to trial.

About the Author

Troy Slaten

Troy Slaten is the managing attorney for Floyd, Skeren & Kelly's Criminal Defense practice. He graduated with honors from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He then went on to earn his law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.


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