The medical emergency defense isn't often used, but it can be an option if your behavior was the result of a potentially life-threatening medical condition. If you or a passenger in your car suffered an acute injury or an immediate health risk, you may be able to use this as a defense for driving recklessly.
Defining a Medical Emergency
It's important to keep in mind that a medical emergency defense will only work if your condition is beyond your control and/or requires immediate medical care. The following are examples of a genuine medical emergency that could get your reckless driving charge reduced or dropped:
- Heart attack
- Blacking out
The following are not examples of a genuine medical emergency:
- You were running late for a routine doctor's appointment.
- You wanted to get to the hospital to see a friend or family member who had been admitted.
- You needed to find a restroom.
- You feel asleep at the wheel after working a double shift.
- You were distracted because you were sneezing due to a bad allergy attack or coughing because of a cold.
Going Against Doctor's Orders
If you want to use a medical emergency defense for a reckless driving charge, you'll need to submit proof of your health condition. If you previously knew of your condition and your doctor advised you not to drive, this will disqualify you from using the medical emergency defense.
If your reckless driving charge is the result of your efforts to transport a family member or friend to the hospital, your eligibility for the medical emergency defense will depend on the seriousness of his condition, whether other transportation alternatives were available, and if anyone was hurt as the result of your conduct.
Finding Legal Representation
Under Virginia law, reckless driving carries substantial fines, as well as the possibility of jail time and the stigma associated with a criminal record. Anyone facing a reckless driving charge is strongly advised to seek legal representation.
Virginia defense attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh has extensive experience helping clients find the best way to handle a reckless driving ticket. If you believe your case might qualify for a medical emergency defense, please call to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.