Can I Get a DUI Overturned If I Was Driving Due to an Emergency?

This is a defense that has been tried many times – seeking to have a DUI overturned when the person was driving due to an emergency situation. However, it is rarely successful.

In this Drunk Drivers Rights guide we discuss whether a DUI can be overturned if you were driving due to an emergency.

Types of Emergencies Involved

The range of emergencies that DUI attorneys have attempted to use covers the entire spectrum. Most are medical emergencies. A wife went into labor and the baby was coming; a child had a seizure; someone had a heart attack; an elderly person was bleeding profusely and many more.

The police and courts typically respond that in such emergencies the best thing to do is to call 911 and wait for medical help. For example, it is likely safer for a woman to give birth at home with EMTs present than to give birth in a vehicle, especially when driven by a drunk driver. That is hard to deny.

Non-medical reasons usually fail to meet a reasonable definition of an emergency. The reason given the most credibility is that the person was literally fleeing for their life. The most common scenario that is successful is a person fleeing domestic violence at the hands of someone with a criminal record of violence. Even then, the conviction is rarely overturned but the punishment may be reduced.

Reasons given for driving due to so-called emergency that are not usually successful in court include being late for an airline flight, being late for a forgotten appointment, rushing to the hospital to see a dying parent and running out of beer during a party. Some reasons have more legitimacy than others, but in virtually every case argued before the court, the case is not overturned. The court responds by saying another driver, one who had not been drinking, could have been found. Or by saying that no one can prevent a drunk person from driving, but the person has to accept the potential consequences of that decision.

Getting Advice from an Experienced DUI Attorney

If you believe you were poorly represented or misrepresented in a DUI case you lost and want to explore having it overturned, talk to a successful DUI lawyer with a proven track record in appealing DUI convictions. He or she will evaluate your case and advise you about the chances of winning on appeal and having your DUI conviction overturned.