War hero’s DUI defense identifies battle scars as cause of crash

Not all scars are visible, especially among the men and women who have served our country in battle. Mental disorders are not the easiest injuries to spot, but with medical professionals’ help, disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder can be detected and, therefore, treated.

It isn’t uncommon for veterans to suffer from mental disorders as a result of their service. One example of such a veteran is at the center of an out-of-state drunk driving case. The veteran has been honored for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan, but amid earning various medals for his service, it sounds as though he didn’t receive at least one thing that would have meant a lot: a mental health diagnosis.

According to The Washington Post, the veteran became the defendant in a Florida DUI case after he allegedly caused a crash in April of 2010. A man died in the crash, and now the veteran’s future is on the line as a result of the incident. When authorities responded to the scene and investigated, it was allegedly found that the veteran had been driving under the influence of alcohol.

But the suspect’s DUI defense attorney argues that alcohol was not the root cause of the fatal accident. He claims insanity led to the tragic crash.

Insanity in this case is being attributed to the mental wounds that the veteran supposedly suffers from as a result of his years of service. The veteran reportedly was seriously injured during his service. Sources report that he sustained brain damage on the field and brought that invisible wound home with him, including a serious case of PTSD. Combined, the defense argues that the brain damage and PTSD caused the veteran to suffer a dissociative episode before the crash occurred.

This matter has become more than just a DUI case. It has attracted the nation’s attention due to the identity and reported wounds of the defendant. It’s been an ongoing struggle to ensure that U.S. veterans get the medical, mental and emotional support that they need when they return home. A not guilty verdict would support the theory that more needs to be done to aid in a healthier, smoother return for our soldiers.

We will post an update when there is a development in this case.


The Washington Post: “Hero Marine claims brain trauma suffered in Iraq, Afghanistan led to fatal DUI crash in Fla.,” Tamara Lush, Sep. 23, 2011

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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