Silhouette of an alcoholic woman with a bottleIntoxication can sometimes be used as a defense, depending on the circumstances. In cases where a defendant is intoxicated, they may not have understood what they were doing at the time the crime took place. However, to understand if you will be able to use this as a defense, you must first understand the differences between voluntary and involuntary intoxication.

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Intoxication 

Involuntary Intoxication Explained: It may be difficult to understand how somebody could become intoxicated against his or her own knowledge. However, many people every year are tricked into consuming drugs or alcohol or even forced to do so. Let’s say that a woman is under the influence of a date rape drug when she commits a crime – this is a perfect example of involuntary intoxication.

If the defendant was unable to form intent because they had no idea what was happening at the time of the crime, then this is a useable defense. Did you understand the nature of your actions at the time? Then you don’t have a defense. Otherwise, you can use involuntary intoxication.

Voluntary Intoxication Explained: Using voluntary intoxication as a defense is much more difficult than involuntary. If you brought the intoxication upon yourself and proceeded to commit a crime, the jury will typically not side with you. Voluntary intoxication can only be used as a defense to specific intent crimes when it prevents the defendant from forming criminal intent. The burden, however, will be on you to prove that you lacked that necessary intent.

In many cases, being successful with a voluntary intoxication defense will not completely take away charges, but instead reduce your charges. Because these cases can be extremely difficult, you should give us a call to handle your case every step of the way. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we are there for you in your time of need when you have been charged with a crime.