Is Being Drunk a Defense to Charges?

It is common knowledge that being intoxicated can cause you to exercise less than perfect judgment. Since alcohol impairs overall brain function, someone that has consumed too much alcohol may find themselves acting out in ways they wouldn't normally. If those actions are criminal, can an individual use their intoxication as a defense to avoid conviction?

Whenever someone consumes alcohol of their own free will, it is referred to as voluntary intoxication. This indicates that the person knew that the alcohol would result in impaired judgment. Since they were aware of the risks associated, they can be held accountable for their own actions, even when criminal.

Being Drunk Is Not a Defense in Florida

In 1999, Florida Legislature decided that involuntary intoxication could no longer be used as a defense to a crime, or used to show that someone accused of a crime lacked the criminal intent. In addition, it cannot be used to prove insanity.

As with many laws, there is usually an exception to the rule. If the accused can show that the substance they used was prescribed by a medical professional and was taken in a completely lawful manner, then it is considered involuntary intoxication. However, this would refer more commonly to drug use than alcohol. In these cases, a person must have followed the lawful dosage amount to use such reasoning as a defense. If a person was intoxicated or impaired against their will, such as through a date rape drug or other unique circumstances, they may be able to use this as a defense, though this can be hard to prove.

While some states allow for voluntary intoxication to be used by a criminal defense attorney to clear an individual of their charges, Florida is not one of those states. If you or a loved one was drunk when accused of a crime, you need an innovative criminal lawyer to take on your case! Call Thomas & Paulk, P.A. right away.