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Is there ever a time when drunk driving is legal?

Posted on in OWI

The law in Wisconsin is exceedingly clear. Individuals who have a blood alcohol content beyond .08 percent cannot legally operate an automobile on the road. In fact, they can't even sit in the driver's seat while drunk with the vehicle pulled over on the side of the road without running the risk of getting arrested for a DUI. All that said, many drivers are surprised to hear that there are certain exceedingly rare circumstances in which it is actually legal to driver while intoxicated.

Before we discuss some examples of these circumstances -- when it's legal to drive drunk -- readers should be warned: This is not something to do on purpose, and it only applies to rare and emergency situations.

Here are two situations in which a driver could theoretically drive drunk and get away with it:

The driver is being threatened: Imagine someone was threatening a driver's life and forcing him or her to drive drunk. Maybe it's a husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend or lover. Maybe it's an abusive boss. Whatever the situation, the driver is fearful of his or her life or safety because someone is threatening and coercing the driver to operate a vehicle while intoxicated.

Drunk driving was required to avoid the chance of greater harm: Imagine the driver was at a party in a rural area where everyone was drunk. One party participant fell deathly ill and would likely die if someone didn't take him or her to the hospital. One brave soul decides to drive the person to get medical care in spite of being intoxicated. The person made the executive decision to risk drunk driving to avoid the potential for greater harm.

The above two circumstances might result in a sympathetic judge or jury deciding that the drunk driver acted appropriately given the circumstances. Although there are no guarantees when taking a case to trial, at the end of the day, if you have been accused of drunk driving, you will always be entitled to a criminal defense -- and it's vital that you prepare your drunk driving defense as carefully as possible.

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