Las Vegas Criminal Law Blog

Can You Use a Necessity Defense for a DUI Arrest?

An arrest for DUI can be a life-altering event. In many cases, defendants may find themselves facing the suspension of their license, fines, and even jail time. Here, at The Law Offices of Benjamin Nadig, we rely on our extensive knowledge of Nevada State Law to offer you the best defense against a pending DUI charge.

There are unique circumstances where a defendant in a DUI case may argue “necessity” in their defense. This line of defense does not contend the defendant was driving under the influence; rather, it argues there was an emergency situation where the defendant had no choice but to operate a motor vehicle out of necessity.

Here are three examples of the “Necessity” defense that have been used in Nevada:

Driving a Dying Person to the Hospital

There is a narrow set of circumstances where a defendant can argue that they had to drive a dying person to the hospital. The defendant would have to demonstrate to the court that had they not driven to the hospital, their passenger would have died.

It is important to note that the defendant did not contribute to the medical state of their passenger. An example being, if the passenger were injured in a car accident caused by the defendant, the “necessity” defense would not be applicable. Yet, if the passenger was dying due to circumstances not caused by the defendant, there was no other individual to drive them to the hospital, and 911 was not responsive when contacted, the defendant may be able to use the necessity defense.

Fleeing Someone Trying to Harm Them

Once again, the defendant would have to prove that they were fleeing someone who had the intent to injure or kill them and had no other means of escape. The defendant would need to prove to the Court that their situation was dire, and without escaping the situation in a motor vehicle even though they were intoxicated, they would have been hurt or even killed.

Fleeing a Fire, Flood, or other Natural Disaster

The defendant would have to show that they were fleeing a life-threatening situation, and there were no other means of escape available to them. The problem would have to be very serious, such as a severe flood, fire, or another form of natural disaster that would cause immediate harm to the defendant. 

Is the Necessity Defense Right for You?

The necessity defense may excuse a DUI only if specific criteria are met. The laws in the State of Nevada are vague when it comes to what the defendant might have to show to get a DUI dismissed under the necessity defense, but the Nevada Supreme Court has detailed one aspect of the defense. They have indicated that a DUI defendant can not substantially contribute to the emergency situation, which caused them to drive intoxicated.

Facing a License Suspension, Fines, or Jail Time for DUI?

If you have been arrested for DUI in Las Vegas and need legal advice, please contact The Law Offices of Benjamin Nadig. We are a practice dedicated to protecting the rights of Nevada citizens, and we will explore all options that are available to you. For your free initial consultation, contact us today.