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Florida’s DUI Necessity Defense

Florida law may recognize a necessity defense in a DUI case when the defendant has a compelling circumstance that requires driving to avoid a greater harm. The most commonly cited example is when the driver is faced with a medical emergency and drives himself or someone else to the hospital.

The necessity defense as defined under Florida law has the following elements that could be applied in a DUI case:

  1. The defendant reasonably believed that the action was necessary to avoid an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to the defendant or another person;
  2. The defendant did not recklessly or intentionally put himself in the circumstance in which he would likely be forced to choose the criminal action;
  3. No other adequate means existed to avoid the harm except by doing the criminal act;
  4. The harm that the defendant wanted to avoid was worse than the criminal act committed to avoid the harm;
  5. The defendant stopped committing the criminal act as soon as the necessity or apparent necessity for the act had ended.

Contact a Hillsborough County DUI Attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss how the DUI necessity defense might apply to a drunk driving case under Florida law.

This article was last updated on Thursday, May 18, 2017.