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Can you drive drunk in an emergency?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | DWI

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in the state of Texas. Other types of impairment are also prohibited. For instance, you could get DWI charges if you’re under the influence of prescription drugs or marijuana. Many drivers face arrest every day for breaking these laws.

However, you may believe that you have a valid reason to drive under the influence. Maybe it’s an emergency, such as your spouse going into labor and needing to be rushed to the hospital. Or perhaps someone has been injured, like a child who broke their arm and needs to be taken to the ER. Even though you are impaired, can you legally drive in order to address this emergency?

Drunk driving laws don’t change

No, you cannot drive drunk in an emergency. The drunk driving laws in Texas have no provisions for emergency situations. They simply say that it is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired. This is true whether it’s an emergency or not.

That doesn’t mean that an emergency won’t have any bearing on your case. If you’re facing charges, you may be able to explain to the judge that you did what you thought you had to do to help someone in an emergency situation. Even if you just get pulled over by the police, you may be able to explain the emergency and ask for an escort or a ride to the hospital.

But the police could technically still arrest you and the judge could still convict you. The emergency doesn’t automatically get you out of the charges. That’s why it’s so important for you to understand all of your legal defense options at this time.