Intoxication is not a complete defence except in very limited circumstances. It is a defence to certain parts of criminal offences which if not proved can result in not guilty verdicts. Intoxication as a defence is a complicated area of the law and difficult defence to raise. Our experienced criminal lawyers can assist you raise intoxication if it is an available defence to you.
Intoxication includes intoxication from alcohol and drugs, both illicit and prescription.
When is intoxication a complete defence?
Intoxication is a complete defence where the intoxication was the involuntary.
You are not criminally responsible for an offence if the relevant conduct resulted from intoxication that was not self-induced. that is if the intoxication was involuntary. You became intoxicated because of a crime against you, fraud, accident, reasonable mistake, duress or force. Example of involuntary intoxication are:
- Being drugged and drink spiking.
- Taking medication in in accordance with the dosage level recommended, but there being an adverse reaction that led to intoxication.
When may intoxication be used as a partial defence to criminal charges?
Evidence of intoxication can be used as a partial defence where you are charged with an offence of specific intent.
Specific intent offences are those which require the police to prove that you possessed a specific intent to bring about a specific result. For these offences, the court can consider your degree of intoxication when determining if you intended to bring about a certain result from your conduct. A common example is whether a person did not turn their mind to inflicting grievous bodily harm because of their level of intoxication.
Evidence of intoxication may not be taken into account if you resolved before becoming intoxicated to do the relevant conduct. Or became intoxicated in order to strengthen your resolve to do the relevant conduct.