“Sorry Officer, I was just drunk—it won’t happen again!” Can you imagine a world where this statement could win you any points with the law? While not some crazy moment when you’re stumbling around spilling beer all over the evidence, there are a few instances where this defense may actually hold some legal weight—after you have sobered up, of course.
A big difference at hand is if the intoxication was voluntary or involuntary. If you just willingly drank ten beers in a sitting and are going around causing mayhem, you’ll be hard pressed to find a trial judge who actually believes that your drunkenness is grounds for any kind of defense. However, if you can prove that you were involuntarily intoxicated, the case may be able to swing more in your favor.
Involuntary intoxication occurs when the defendant did not know that the substance that they were consuming contained alcohol or another drug, or if they were forced to consume it under duress or coercion. This is also available if the intoxication was ‘pathological’ which means that the reaction of the defendant to the substance is disproportionate to their expectations. So if you took a small amount of alcohol but had an allergic reaction to it which you weren’t expecting, and you were severely intoxicated as a result, you should not be held as accountable for your actions and this may certainly be seen as a solid defense strategy. If your involuntary intoxication was so severe that you could be legally insane during the time period, you would not be able to differentiate between right and wrong and instead have this complete defense on your side.
Other cases of voluntary intoxication are not always available to be used as a defense, but when they are they can work quite well. The admissibility of these defenses depends upon what you are being charged with, and if the voluntary intoxication has to be proven beyond the realm of reasonable doubt during your trial. It will not negate against all charges especially those of general intent, but may help to defend you on instances of specific intent crimes.
If you were intoxicated while committing a crime and are now facing serious criminal charges as a result, you will need to discuss the case and the ability to use this defense thoroughly with your criminal defense attorney. Depending on the type of intoxication and the crime, it may or may not be the best strategy for your defense, which a capable attorney will be able to determine. For more information about seeking out a great lawyer and for a free consultation, contact me, Leon Matchin, today at 732-662-7658 today to get started discussing your case.