If an individual is alleged to have committed a crime, they need to work quickly to obtain an attorney who can build a defense on their behalf. Every criminal case is different, and the defense arguments used by an attorney to help their client will vary depending on the specific situation. One defense that may be available is claiming intoxication. Here, we want to discuss how intoxication can become a legal defense against a criminal charge in Pennsylvania.
How Can Being Drunk Be a Defense?
Individuals make mistakes when they are intoxicated by alcohol. This is not a surprise to anyone, but what may be surprising is the fact that intoxication could be used as a defense for individuals who have allegedly committed a crime while they were intoxicated.
Intoxication is a legal defense available in some situations. This defense is made on the basis that, because the person was intoxicated, they did not understand the nature of their actions or what they were doing. However, intoxication is not a defense that applies in every circumstance. In fact, the intoxication defense will only apply in limited circumstances, and usually hinges on whether or not the intoxication was voluntary or involuntary and the level of intent by the individual charged with a crime.
Involuntary intoxication happens when someone is either tricked into consuming alcohol or drugs or forced to do so. For example, if an individual puts their drink down at a bar and their drink is spiked with a drug without their knowledge, this would be considered involuntary intoxication.
Involuntary intoxication can also occur when a person has a negative reaction or suffers from unintended effects of a legally prescribed prescription medication.
If a person has been charged with a crime while they were involuntarily intoxicated, this could be used as a defense on their behalf. Even if the intoxication defense is not entirely successful, it may be possible to use this defense to reduce the defendant’s culpability. Rather than letting the individual off the hook, it may result in a plea for a lesser offense or a less harsh sentence after conviction.
Intoxication will typically be considered voluntary if the person willfully consumed alcohol or drugs. If this individual then goes on to break the law or commit a crime, it is very unlikely that they will be able to use the intoxication defense when working to defend themselves against the allegations.
Working With an Attorney for Help
If you or somebody you care about has been charged with a crime, you need to speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania as soon as possible. A lawyer can examine the facts of your case and help formulate any possible defense strategies moving forward. This includes the intoxication defense. If you were involuntarily intoxicated at the time you allegedly committed a crime, an attorney will examine the facts of the intoxication and work to use this as part of your defense.
The criminal process is incredibly complicated in Pennsylvania, and individuals facing charges should not try to defend themselves against seasoned prosecutors. An attorney will have your back and handle all aspects of the case. This includes investigating the incident, engaging in negotiations with prosecutors, and fully preparing your claim for trial if necessary.