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Excuse is an explanation stated in court as the grounds for exempting oneself from liability. In other words, a defendant with a valid excuse will not suffer the usual penalty for their actions. For example, if a motorist is charged with DUI, they may use an excuse defense if the driver was driving an injured person to a hospital, and there was no alternative way to send the injured person to the hospital under that circumstance.

[Last updated in September of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]