Police officer arresting a young man at nightWhat happens if you find it necessary to commit a crime because it will prevent another serious harm? If you find yourself in a situation like this, you may be able to use the criminal defense of “necessity.” Let’s say, for example, a man has a suspended license but his girlfriend is extremely pregnant and having stomach pains. He must drive to reach the closest neighbor and access a phone to call an ambulance. If the man can prove to the court that it was absolutely necessary for him to drive and reach a phone, he can use necessity as a defense to avoid charges for driving with a suspended license.

Usually, necessity will stem from emergency situations. However, you must meet certain elements if you wish to use this defense and have it work in your favor. For instance, you must reasonably believe that there is an actual threat and that the threat you are trying to prevent is greater than the damage that will result from your actions. The threat must be imminent and you can only use this defense if you were left with no other options. If you meet these criteria, then you may have a case.

What happens if you were a bus driver and you had to choose between driving your bus into a building or having it careen off the edge of a cliff? In any situation, a reasonable bus driver would choose the building because there is a likelihood that you could live through this accident as well as save the people on the bus. Even though you destroyed the property that you drove into, there was a necessity to do so and your defense could be utilized.

Were You the Cause of the Accident? 

If you want your necessity claim to have weight, you could not have contributed to the crime beforehand. For instance, let’s look at the bus example again. Let’s say that the bus driver was advised that his brakes were failing and he decided to avoid that and drive into the situation anyway. You may not be able to use necessity because you were aware of what could happen.

If you have been charged with a crime and believe that you have a viable defense, call us today. The necessity defense can be a bit complicated and you need a strong defense attorney on your side. Call us at The Law Office of Peter Blair for answers to your questions.