Saturday March 27, 18:12 ESTWoman Acquitted of Drunk Driving
By BOB EGELKO
Associated Press Writer
WRENTHAM, Mass. (AP) A woman was acquitted of drunken driving after claiming she failed four sobriety tests because she feared she would be beaten by her husband.
The battered woman's syndrome defense is often used in murder cases, but Kathleen Barrett is one of the first defendants to use the strategy against a drunken-driving charge, said her attorney, Victor Sloan.
A jury found Barrett, 35, innocent of driving while under the influence. Instead, she was fined $35 for failing to stay in her lane. The jury deliberated less than two hours earlier this month.
Sloan said Barrett and her husband, who were married 9 years, had a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.
``Yes, her driving was impaired, but it was not because of alcohol,'' Sloan said. ``It was because of the effect the abusive relationship.''
She told police she drank three beers Jan. 23 over a four-hour period, but claimed she was not intoxicated. Barrett refused to take a Breathalyzer test and failed parts of four sobriety tests.
She had been looking for her husband who had stormed off after an argument. Sloan said Barrett feared she'd be beaten if she didn't find him.
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