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Is it legal to break the law in an emergency? 

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Criminal Defense

When an emergency happens, do you stop to consider the legality of your actions? Or do you just do what you need to do in that emergency?

An example of this is if someone has been injured. A friend is breaking the speed limit trying to get them to the hospital. It’s an emergency and they want to help as quickly as possible, so they think that it’s legal for them to break traffic laws in this situation. But is it?

The law still stands

The reality is that there’s not a situation in which the laws are overruled. They still stand, even though it’s an emergency. In the example above – or another common example, where a man is rushing to the hospital with his wife, who is pregnant and in labor – it is still illegal to break the speed limit.

That doesn’t mean that someone would always be arrested for breaking the law. The speeding driver may be pulled over by a police officer who agrees not to give them a ticket and to escort them to the hospital safely. The officer has to make that choice, though. They would still have the option to give out the speeding ticket if they wanted to, and the emergency wouldn’t be enough to excuse that ticket. Either way, the law was broken.

What legal options do you have?

Unfortunately, people will sometimes accidentally do things that they believe won’t get them in legal trouble, only to find themselves facing serious charges. If you are in that situation, you must know about all the defense options at your disposal.