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Can someone’s intoxication upon arrest influence their defense?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2023 | Uncategorized |

Police officers often see people at their most volatile and vulnerable. They might get called to a party after a huge fight breaks out or to a home after a disagreement between spouses has turned violent. Frequently, violent incidents between people involve at least one person who is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, so police officers often arrest people who are clearly intoxicated.

Intoxication affects how people act by disinhibiting them. They may become more volatile and emotional and may have a harder time making rational decisions. Because someone’s state of mind is often critical to the charges that a prosecutor can file against them, it makes sense to wonder whether someone’s intoxication at the time of their arrest could potentially play a role in their criminal defense.

Voluntary intoxication won’t change someone’s criminal charges

The logic behind asserting impairment in response to criminal charges is straightforward. Someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not in full control of their faculties and therefore may not be able to fully form the criminal intent necessary for a crime to occur.

However, courts and lawmakers have consistently rejected that claim. Choosing to consume drugs or alcohol typically means accepting the risk that comes with intoxication. Voluntary consumption of drugs or alcohol leading to intoxication is not a reason for an affirmative defense according to Texas state law. In other words, people cannot blame their behavior on their impairment and avoid a criminal conviction.

Involuntary intoxication is the sole exception to this general rule

Sometimes, individuals end up in an inebriated state unintentionally. For example, women at bars and nightclubs could end up slipped a drug by another patron or even a staff member with nefarious intentions. Someone might also accidentally order what they think is a mocktail or a smoothie and annoyingly unjust a substantial amount of flicker in addition to fruit juice and soda.

Under the rare circumstances wherein someone can establish in court that they did not intentionally ingest drugs or alcohol, their impairment at the time of an incident might play a role in their criminal defense strategy. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about the rules that govern different criminal defenses in Texas may significantly benefit those who have recently been arrested for alleged criminal wrongdoing.