Intoxication (Drunkenness) as a Defense to a Crime
When can intoxication or drunkenness be used as a defense to a crime in Louisiana?
La. R.S. 14:15 provides the law relative to intoxication as a defense to a crime in Louisiana. That article states:
La. R.S. 14:15. Intoxication
The fact of an intoxicated or drugged condition of the offender at the time of the commission of the crime is immaterial, except as follows:
(1) Where the production of the intoxicated or drugged condition has been involuntary, and the circumstances indicate this condition is the direct cause of the commission of the crime, the offender is exempt from criminal responsibility.
(2) Where the circumstances indicate that an intoxicated or drugged condition has precluded the presence of a specific criminal intent or of special knowledge required in a particular crime, this fact constitutes a defense to a prosecution for that crime.
Involuntary Intoxication. There are two types of intoxication that can be used as a defense to a crime in Louisiana, involuntary intoxication and voluntary intoxication. The first type, involuntary intoxication, occurs when a person becomes intoxicated after being tricked by another or by having an unexpected reaction to a drug, liquid, or other substance. In this instance, the person does not intend to become intoxicated. An example of involuntary intoxication is when a person becomes intoxicated when someone else slips a date rape drug in her drink. If this person commits a crime as a direct result of this intoxicated state, then involuntary intoxication can be a defense to the crime under La. R.S. 14:15(1). Involuntary intoxication can be used as a defense to any crime as long as the circumstances indicate that the involuntary intoxication is the direct cause of the commission of the crime.
Voluntary Intoxication. The second type of intoxication is voluntary intoxication. This type of intoxication occurs when a person intentionally becomes intoxicated. It is much more difficult to prevail with the defense of voluntary intoxication than with involuntary intoxication. This is because voluntary intoxication is only a defense to specific intent crimes, those crimes stating that the offender must have specific intent to be guilty. Some specific intent crimes are first degree murder, second degree murder, second degree battery, simple burglary, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, and aggravated battery.
If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published September 7, 2018.