Pathological IntoxicationMost people are aware that they may become intoxicated if they use a certain amount of alcohol, illegal drugs, or some prescription drugs. However, in some rare instances, a person may use only a small amount of a substance and that amount may trigger a disproportional biological reaction to the substance. In these situations, a person may become unexpectedly intoxicated with a lack of self-control when they did not actually use substances to become so. This condition is called “pathological intoxication.”

Imagine that you drank only a few sips of alcohol or took a routine medication and suddenly, you were in handcuffs being accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI). You may want to claim that you were involuntarily impaired due to pathological intoxication. However, while the New Jersey criminal justice system does allow involuntary intoxication to be used as a defense in certain cases, a NJ court recently rejected the defense in a DWI case.

The recent decision was based on a past New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that held that involuntary intoxication (such as pathological intoxication) was not a defense in DWI cases for the following reasons:

  • The DWI statute does not require you to intend to drive while impaired, it only requires that a prosecutor proves you were driving while intoxicated – whether you were doing so voluntarily or involuntarily should not be relevant.

These NJ court rulings make it difficult for defendants who honestly did not intend to become intoxicated and only had a small amount of alcohol or medication that triggered an unexpected bodily reaction.

Many people find themselves facing DWI charges when they were not intentionally breaking the law. In such circumstances, you need a DWI defense attorney who understands how to present your defense in a manner to avoid wrongful conviction. However, even if you were intoxicated when you were arrested, an effective defense by a skilled attorney is still critical in your case to limit the penalties that you may face.

Call 732-662-7658 today for a free consultation.

At the Law Offices of Leon Matchin, our experienced New Jersey DWI defense lawyer has represented the rights of many clients facing charges of DWI, traffic offenses, and other criminal allegations. If you would like to discuss how we can help in your case, please call our office today 732-662-7658 or use our online contact form.