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Can I Get Charged with a DUI in an Emergency?


You are driving impaired, but you have a perfect reason, like an emergency. Should you get slapped with a DUI charge in such a case? If you do, is there a way to get out of it? You may need a skilled DUI lawyer to help.

Sometimes, we have seemingly good reasons for the decisions that we take. These decisions could even be the tipping point between life and death for us and others. You could be trying to escape a very harmful situation, and the only way to get-away option is to drive while under the influence of alcohol; what do you do? Stay and get harmed or drive? Or a loved one has a medical emergency and needs to get to the hospital immediately. What do you do?

Unfortunately, if you get pulled over by the police in such situations, it is very likely that you get charged with a DUI. This is because this is a gray area, and Idaho’s DUI laws can be quite complicated. It is hard to determine that the emergency is more important than an alcohol-impaired driving fatality caused by you.

What To Do in Such Emergencies

If you absolutely have to drive impaired due to an emergency, here are a few things you can do to avoid getting arrested and charged with a DUI:

  • Drive for short distances: The longer you drive, the higher your chances of getting pulled over by the police for driving impaired. If you’re trying to escape danger, you could try to drive for only as long as it takes to escape, park, and find an alternative means of transportation.
  • Call someone: Once you get to a safe location, you could call a trusted friend to pick you up. If you do not have access to a phone, then try to flag down a cab or ask someone to help you book one.
  • Ask for help: Sometimes, the best way to assist in an emergency is to get help from other people. So, if you’re in a situation where someone absolutely needs medical attention, you might not be in the best position to offer it if you are intoxicated. This is because you might be risking your life, theirs, and that of other road users. The better choice in such a situation might be to ask around for someone else to drive you.
  • Be careful with your words: You might still catch a police officer’s attention after taking these precautions. If this happens, ensure that you say only what’s important. A good number of DUI charges are made on the backs of incriminating statements made by the driver, especially after they’ve passed the breathalyzer test.

Legal Defenses for DUI Charges 

Fortunately, it is up to the prosecutor to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before you are convicted. As most DUI cases are not exactly alike, a good DUI Attorney such as the ones at Trilogy Law Group can ensure that your charges are either dismissed completely or reduced.

There are several potential legal defenses a lawyer can claim for DUI charges. This includes arguing that the police officer had no legal justification or probable cause to stop or arrest you in the first place, the Breathalyzer not being properly calibrated, the officer not having followed proper legal procedures during the arrest, and many others.

In some cases, such as driving impaired due to an emergency, the DUI Defense Attorney can argue that there is a legal justification for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol-based on the danger that could have occurred if you didn’t. This usually occurs in cases of domestic violence. In such cases,  it can be argued that an act which would otherwise be illegal (DUI, in this case) is permissible if it prevents a greater evil.

However, as mentioned earlier in this article, it is quite a herculean task to determine if what was being prevented was a greater evil. In some other cases, this is not admissible as a defense; the jury might even be prevented from learning the details of whatever emergency occurred to make the defendant drive impaired.

Contact a Boise DUI Attorney to Help with a DUI Charge

If you get convicted of DUI charges in Boise, you could face quite severe consequences, from paying a fine to getting your license suspended and possible jail time. As such, it is important to contact an experienced Boise DUI Attorney as soon as you can.  Our team of DUI Lawyers is available to ensure that you have the best possible defense in court.