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Somebody Slipped GHB Into Your Drink? You Could Be Charged with DUI in Seattle Washington

Posted by Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney | Nov 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

Prosecutorial_discretion_and_misconduct
Prosecutors and DUI Charges
It's a scary scenario: you're out having a good time at a bar or club when someone unknowingly slips a "mickey" into your drink. Then the perpetrator waits for you to lose your faculties before victimizing you in some way - be it theft, abduction, rape, or worse. Now, let's say that you somehow manage to get away before the drug takes effect. You're driving along and proceed to get pulled over by a cop. But instead of treating you like the victim you are - the officer tosses you in jail on charges of driving under the influence. Talk about blaming the victim.

That's what a Montana woman alleges happened to her in 2010. Leigh Paffhausen claims that she was given a small amount of GHB (also known as the "date-rape drug") in her drink, which caused her to drive erratically and get stopped. But when she tried to raise that issue as part of an "involuntary intoxication" defense, the state denied her the opportunity. Thankfully, the Montana Supreme Court granted her appeal and ruled in her favor, sending the case back to the lower court.

Prosecutors (and three of the seven dissenting judges) claim that this ruling will lead to a flood of "somebody slipped something in my drink" defenses. But this is a silly position to take for two reasons. First, it's disingenuous for a prosecutor to argue in one courtroom that a person raped someone because the victim was powerless due to a date-rape drug, then walk to another courtroom and prevent an accused drunk driver of claiming that he or she was powerless for the same reason. But more importantly, Paffhausen (and anyone else) still has to prove that she was slipped the drug. And that's far from an automatic "get out of jail free" card.

Finally, it's the prosecution's job to seek the truth!  Rape for example is a class A Felony that would be considered by many a more important crime to prosecute than DUI, a gross misdemeanor.  Additionally, a basic element of any criminal act, including DUI, is volition or consciousness.  If someone is has no will to commit the crime because they aren't aware that they are doing it they are not guilty and shouldn't be prosecuted.

It won't happen here in Seattle, Washington you say?  The prosecutors are moderate with their power and will seek the truth.  I'm sad to say that we just finished defending a woman in the same shoes as this Montana woman.


About the Author

Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney

Highly rated by former clients, who praise his warm, knowledgeable courtside manner and his fierce determination to reduce or eliminate charges. An accomplished speaker, author, and leader in DUI defense statewide Kevin is well respected by judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys across the State of Washington for his expertise, integrity, and knowledge in the complicated forensic science area of impaired driving allegations.

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