Some criminal acts require a person to have a specific intent to commit the crime to be guilty. Specific intent is a person’s desire for his actions to produce the outcome of a certain crime. Crimes such as burglary, murder, larceny, and robbery require specific intent.
One criminal defense to a specific intent crime is an intoxication criminal defense.
It is the defendant’s claim an ingested intoxicating substance made it impossible to form the required intent. Without the required intent, the defendant is not guilty of the crime. The intoxicating substance are drugs and alcohol.
The two types of intoxication defenses are:
Involuntary Intoxication occurs when someone ingest an intoxicating substance without his or her knowledge. The individual later commits a crime such as murder. Since the individual was forced to or tricked into ingesting the substance no specific intent exists.
Involuntary intoxication is a valid defense in some specific and general intent crimes. General intent crimes do not require the defendant to intentionally act to commit the crime.
Voluntary intoxication occurs an individual ingests an intoxicating substance. He later commits a crime while under the influence of the substance.
In some states, voluntary intoxication is an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense means the defendant has the burden of proving she was intoxicated. Other states treat voluntary intoxication as only mitigation, and not a defense.
To mitigate a crime refers to reduce the original charge to a lower one. For example, Viola was originally charged with murdering her neighbor. Prior to committing the murder, she took drugs. She claims she did not know what she was doing at the time. The prosecutor may mitigate the murder charge to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Intoxication criminal defense may be used in certain criminal cases requiring the specific and general intent element. Consulting a criminal lawyer will assist you in understanding more about the defense and how it applies to your situation.
Last Modified: 04-08-2015 05:01 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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