Somebody “Spiked” the Punch: I Didn’t Mean to Get Drunk!

Question: After attending an office party in Sandy Springs I got arrested for DUI. The Sandy Springs police officer said I was speeding and not maintaining my lane. I took the breathalyzer test and I registered a .142.

I could not believe it because I was just drinking punch at our office party. My friend made his punch like he always does with lemonade, cranberry juice, and some of what he calls “secret ingredients.” I did feel a little bit “woozy” but I thought that was simply because when I left the party it was pretty late; it was about 2:30 a.m.

I did not want to drink and I certainly did not want to get drunk. I think someone put alcohol in the punch. But it just tasted like fruit punch and no one ever warned me that there was booze in it, that it was “spiked.”

Can I use it as a defense that I didn't know I was getting drunk? I thought I would never get a DUI and it's embarrassing. I live in Sandy Springs and own a store in the area.

Answer: DUI is not a specific intent crime. In other words, you do not have to have the intent to drive drunk. A prosecutor needs only prove that you were a less safe driver because you ingested alcohol. The prosecutor does not need to prove that you had the intent to drive drunk.

Most crimes are specific intent crimes. No one, for example, inadvertently commits a bank robbery, deals methamphetamine, or commits insurance fraud.

Your defense of not knowing what you were drinking, therefore, is not likely to prevail.

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