Skip to Content

The Involuntary Intoxication Defense

Involuntary intoxication police

Affirmative defenses are where you admit that you engaged in the act, whether the act involves stealing, violence, or illicit sexual conduct, but you deny that your actions fit the definition of the criminal charge. Many criminal charges only apply if you do them intentionally and without the consent of at least one other party involved. It is theft when you steal a backpack and its contents. It is not theft when you mistakenly pick up someone else’s backpack, thinking it is yours, or when someone else leaves their backpack at your house and tells you that you can use it until they come back to get it. Of course, it is not possible to do something intentionally if you are unaware of what you are doing. 

The insanity defense is a famous example of this type of defense, although it is rarely used. Of the few cases where defendants present this defense, only about a quarter of them result in acquittal. A Texas criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges in connection to something that allegedly occurred when you were too drunk to remember it.

What Is the Involuntary Intoxication Defense?

If simply being drunk were a valid defense, then police, prosecutors, judges, and criminal defense lawyers would spend a substantial portion of their workdays simply twiddling their thumbs. Being drunk is not a legally valid excuse for drunk driving, nor is it a legally valid defense for check forgery, domestic violence, auto theft, soliciting commercial sex, or any of various other actions that sobriety is sufficient to prevent many of us from doing. It is legal for adults to buy and consume alcohol, but as the public service announcements tell us, you must drink responsibly. You are still legally responsible for your actions while you are drunk. You are also legally responsible for what you do while you are under the influence of illegal drugs.

According to Texas law, involuntary intoxication can be a voluntary defense. When you use this defense, you are claiming that you committed an illegal act while under the influence of an intoxicating substance, but you did not know that you had consumed the substance or someone forced you to consume it. For example, it is involuntary intoxication if you thought that you were drinking Dr. Pepper, but without your knowledge, someone spiked your glass of soda with a dissociative drug. It is also involuntary intoxication if someone forcibly administers the drug, such as by holding you down and injecting you with a drug or forcibly holding a cloth saturated with inhalants up to your nose. The defense might also apply if you knew what you were consuming but did not know about its intoxicating effects, such as if you took Ambien that had been prescribed to you, but your doctor did not warn you about impaired judgment as a side effect of the drug.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases

Dallas criminal defense lawyer can help you choose the best defense strategy for your case, perhaps even including the involuntary intoxication defense. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.

Share To: