For a suspect to be found guilty of a crime, there must have been the intent to commit a criminal act. Specific intent is legally defined as the person’s desire for their actions to have a certain outcome. Crimes such as murder, larceny, robbery and burglary all need specific intent. However, certain defenses such as intoxication can be used by legal services in Fort Benning, GA.
Intoxication As a Criminal Defense
When intoxication is used as a defense, the defendant claims that ingestion of a substance made the formation of intent impossible. Without specific intent, the defendant cannot be found guilty. There are two versions of this defense: involuntary and voluntary intoxication. Each of these will be discussed in the sections below.
Involuntary Intoxication Defenses
An involuntary intoxication happens when someone ingests a substance with no prior knowledge, and they later commit a crime. Because the person was tricked into ingesting the intoxicating substance, or they were forced to do so, there is no intent. Involuntary intoxication can be claimed as a defense in general and specific intent offenses.
A voluntary intoxication happens when a person willingly ingests a substance and later commits an offense. In some areas, the defendant must prove their intoxication for the defense to be successful. In other places, voluntary intoxication is treated as a mitigating factor rather than a defense.
Mitigating a crime is reducing the initial charge to one that is less severe. For instance, if a person is charged with murder but they took drugs beforehand, they can claim that they were unaware of their actions. A prosecutor may reduce the murder charge to manslaughter.
Should a Person Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney to Claim Intoxication?
The intoxication defenses described above are complex, and can only be applied in some situations. These defenses can be used in some cases that require the elements of general and specific intent. By consulting a defense attorney, one can learn more about the intoxication defense. Contact us to find out how legal services in Fort Benning, GA can help a client determine which defense applies to their situation.