Is it legal to drive drunk in an emergency?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

People who are arrested on drunk driving allegations will sometimes try to explain their actions. They’ll have a reason why they think that what they did was justified, even while admitting that they technically broke the law.

One example of this is when there is a serious emergency. Say that you are at a party with your friends when someone slips and falls and hits their head. They are unconscious and need to be taken to the emergency room. You’ve already been drinking, but you just rush them to the hospital.

It certainly is understandable why you would think this was justified, especially if you were worried that your friend could have severe injuries or even pass away. But is it legal for you to drive drunk in that situation?

It could still lead to an arrest.

No, it is not legal and you could still be arrested. This is similar to when people break the speed limit to rush to the hospital. It is understandable from their perspective, but an emergency doesn’t change the law. Breaking the speed limit or driving under the influence is still illegal, and police officers could use their discretion to make an arrest.

Will it affect your case?

That said, the circumstances of your case can be very important. There is certainly a difference between trying to help someone while you were under the influence and recklessly putting others in danger for no reason at all. But don’t assume that having a “good reason” is automatically going to get you out of the charges. It’s critical that you know about all of your legal defense options.