Under what circumstances can intoxication be used as a defense in a criminal case?
In California, this defense can only be used in limited circumstances. The California legislature and the law controlling criminal cases in LA County is certainly not going to allow someone to become intoxicated and commit crimes at will. The intoxication defense can successfully be used if a person is being charged with a specific intent crime. An example of one of the limited times voluntary intoxication can be used in a criminal case relates to a person charged with attempted murder. The prosecutor must prove that person could form a specific intent to kill. Obviously, if the defendant was too intoxicated to do that, the prosecutors will not be able to prove attempted murder.
One important distinction to make in an intoxication defense case is the distinction between a voluntary intoxication and involuntary intoxication. In other words, if somebody slipped something in another person’s drink causing them to become intoxicated and that person does something illegal, they would have a very good defense. If on the other hand someone of their own volition drinks a bunch of alcohol gets in a car and kills someone, they would have a much more difficult time trying to use intoxication to defend rhemselves.
In these type of cases they turn on the specific facts of the particular case. Therefore, your best approach is to sit down with a seasoned criminal defense attorney and go over your case step-by-step, that way you can get a true indication of what can and cannot be done.