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Can you drive drunk in an emergency? 

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2023 | Drunk Driving

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. However, people will sometimes argue that they needed to drive because it was an emergency and they had no other choice. They know that they violated the law, but they think that they should get out of the arrest because of the emergency.

It’s very important to realize that there are no exceptions to Maryland’s drunk driving laws. Impaired driving is simply prohibited in all cases. It doesn’t matter if the driver claims that it was an emergency or not. They could still be arrested for driving under the influence, no matter what excuse they give.

The definition of an emergency

One thing to keep in mind is that a driver may consider something to be an emergency even when it’s not. For instance, they may say that they had to transport someone to the hospital after breaking their leg. But a broken leg is not a life-threatening emergency, and that person could just as easily have called an ambulance.

However, there are no emergencies that are severe enough to guarantee that someone would not be arrested for driving under the influence. In one case, a man was a volunteer firefighter who was responding to a call while he was intoxicated. Even he was arrested after failing tests, and there was no question that he was actually responding to an emergency. It didn’t make a difference. 

It’s important for drivers to know how the law works and that excuses are not a defense. That said, they may have defense options based on things like how evidence was obtained, the validity of breath tests, and much more. Drivers need to know exactly what legal steps to take.