Can Someone get a DUI for Driving Impaired in an Emergency Situation?

If someone is driving impaired due to necessity in an emergency, can they still get charged with a DUI? If someone is fleeing a domestic violence situation or during a kidnapping scenario, and they jump into a car and drove impaired in an attempt to try to get away safely or diffuse the situation if pulled over, would this lead to a DUI arrest? If someone is arrested during these circumstances, what is the likelihood they will still be charged and convicted of a DUI? Unfortunately, the chances of this person being charged with a DUI is very high.   

Defending DUI Charges Under Emergency Circumstances

As it stands right now, there is no affirmative defense currently for DUI charges, so you cannot use what’s called the defense of necessity. Necessity is a defense of several other types of crimes. Necessity is a justification defense where one would commit an act that would normally be illegal but is necessary to prevent the greater evil so basically, you cannot commit a crime to prevent another greater crime. Examples of justification defenses would be self-defense or defense of a third person. This means even if somebody’s significant other or parent was hurting them and that person got behind the wheel to flee that environment, while impaired in any way shape or form to the slightest degree, there is no legal justification for it.

This may seem completely unfair. Someone may be relaxing in your home enjoying a few drinks and someone breaks into the home to rape or kill you. In your escape attempt, you jump in your car and drive away and if you are impaired or over the legal limit, .08, the necessity defense is not available to you.

This defense would most often be seen in domestic violence situations. This would be a result of a victim is trying to escape from their violent significant other who is assaulting them. Sadly, we see this case happen with some degree of frequency, we are often representing clients in exactly that situation. If the case is brought to trial, the jury, for the most part, will be precluded from hearing that the person was fleeing a domestic violence situation. Unfortunately, despite the sadness of those circumstances that is not something that an individual accused of DUI can use as a defense.

Thankfully, we know for a fact that there are efforts right now to change that at the state legislature as Rosenstein Law Group is working heavily on this bill within our firm and advocating for the passage of a bill to extend the justification necessity defense to DUI s. As it currently stands, the reality is that someone even just trying to get away from a deadly situation can and will be prosecuted

What to do if you find yourself in this situation?

DUI is a serious charge with mandatory jail time in Arizona. If you are facing DUI charges, you must speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Here at Rosenstein Law Group, we have the only two board-certified DUI Defense attorneys in Maricopa County. Don’t wait. Get our team of winning criminal defense attorneys working on your case immediately without risk. Phone and video consultations are now available in addition to in-person office appointments. Our attorneys will come to get you out of jail and will aggressively fight to protect your rights in court to get the best possible result for you. We are waiting for your call at 480-248-7666 .