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Can you break the law if it’s an emergency?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

When there’s an emergency, people will sometimes do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. They may bend or break the rules as they try to react to this emergency. In some cases, people will even decide that they’re going to break the law, which they never would’ve done otherwise. They think that the emergency justifies their actions.

For example, maybe there’s a medical emergency. Perhaps a spouse is having a heart attack or going into labor to have a child. Maybe someone has been injured at the house and a family member is trying to rush them to the hospital. They decide to break the speed limit on the way, assuming that they won’t get a ticket because their decision is clearly warranted.

There are no emergency laws

The thing to remember is that there aren’t traditional laws and emergency laws. The laws that are already in place still stand, even when there’s an emergency. Nothing changes. In the example above, breaking the speed limit would still be illegal. The same could be said for other dangerous driving activities like running stop signs or red lights in an effort to get to the hospital more quickly.

Police officers can use their discretion. An officer may pull someone over, find out about the emergency and decide to help by escorting them to the hospital. Once they’ve done so, then the officer can decide if they want to give the person a speeding ticket or not. They’re not necessarily obligated to do so, and they may let that driver off with a warning.

But it’s still important to remember that an officer could give out a ticket or make an arrest, and claiming that there was an emergency often won’t get someone out of those charges. Instead, they need to look into all of their criminal defense options.