Can you drive drunk in an emergency?

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2022 | DUI |

You know that it’s illegal to drive under the influence. If you’ve been drinking and your blood alcohol concentration is over 0.08%, you could be charged with a DUI. It’s very clear that the police often consider there to be no reason for someone to be able to be driving while impaired.

But what if there’s an emergency situation? For instance, maybe you’re at a social gathering and you think someone has alcohol poisoning. You know that it’s wise to take them to the emergency room, but what if you’re driving there and you get pulled over? Can you use that emergency as a reason to drive under the influence?

This is a very rare defense

It’s not that people don’t use this as a defense, but it is rare and the situation has to be perfect for it to have any merit.

One thing to consider is simply what constitutes an emergency. A person who needs immediate medical attention or threat to your life may qualify. But something like being late for a flight or getting a call from your boss that you have to come in for an emergency meeting at the office is not going to count. These may feel like emergencies in your personal life, but they are not nearly important enough to excuse impaired driving.

As a general rule, it’s best to assume that there is no excuse that will get a police officer to avoid making an arrest. Even if you claim it’s an emergency, they will still note that you are endangering traffic by driving under the influence and so it is prohibited. They may say you should have called an ambulance instead. 

If you do find yourself facing arrest because you made such a mistake, when you were just trying to do what was right, then it’s time to start looking into your legal defense options.