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Can I get a DWI if I am driving because of an emergency?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2021 | DWI Defense |

While you may do your best to avoid getting behind the wheel after you have had a few to drink, you may find yourself in a situation where you feel that there is no other choice. In a life-threatening situation, for example, you may decide that driving to the hospital is a better choice, despite the risk of receiving a charge for driving while intoxicated.

In these situations, you may be able to use necessity as a defense to your DWI.

Necessity as an affirmative defense

According to FindLaw experts, necessity is a valid affirmative defense when it comes to DWI charges. Necessity applies to situations where you believe that driving in your condition is a better alternative than what would happen if you did not. An emergency or a situation that threatens your life may cause you to get behind the wheel when you otherwise would not.

For necessity to work as a defense, you must be able to prove that you had no other options at the time. If the courts can easily prove that calling a cab or waiting for an ambulance would have been more reasonable, your defense may not hold up.

Duress is also a valid offense

A duress defense is similar to a necessity defense against a DWI, with one key difference: you must actively be trying to avoid injury or death at the time. If an intruder holds you at gunpoint and forces you to drive to the bank, for example, you would be driving under duress because you wish to escape harm.

Although you may be driving after you have had more to drink than you wish, if it is due to an emergency there is a chance you may not receive DWI charges.