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Can alcohol intoxication play a role in criminal defense strategy?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Crimes Against Persons

Alcohol and other mind-altering substances can affect people’s judgment and their behavior. Although alcohol does not change someone’s personality, it can influence their decision-making in many situations. Sometimes, people who have had too much to drink make mistakes while under the influence. A conversation about politics that starts out calmly might lead to a fistfight, for example. In some cases, what happens while someone is under the influence of alcohol could potentially lead to criminal prosecution.

The state of Georgia can arrest and prosecute those who injure or otherwise have inappropriate physical contact with another person. Can a defendant’s alcohol consumption potentially help them defend against pending charges of this kind?

Georgia law addresses this issue

The process of proving that someone is guilty of a crime is relatively complex. In many cases, Georgia prosecutors need to prove not just that someone violated the law but also that they intended to do so. Sometimes, people can defend against specific criminal charges by proving that there was no criminal intent.

For example, someone accused of assault could claim that they acted in self-defense rather than out of a malicious desire to hurt someone else. If someone had far too much to drink or was under the influence of mind-altering substances, they may have engaged in behavior that they typically would not ever consider.

It is easy to see why people might think of using chemical intoxication as part of a defense strategy. Georgia law effectively prohibits such claims. Someone who intentionally or voluntarily consumes alcohol or other drugs has to accept the consequences of that choice. If they become aggressive or inappropriate while under the influence, they could face criminal charges.

Someone cannot use their voluntary chemical intoxication as a means of limiting their culpability for a criminal incident. While alcohol or drug intoxication isn’t a viable defense strategy, there are still other ways for people to fight their pending charges.

There are a variety of strategies that can potentially help people minimize the legal risk associated with criminal charges. Those accused of committing crimes against another person often need to prepare for criminal court carefully. Evaluating different potential defense strategies with the assistance of a skilled legal team can be a good starting point for those accused of assault or similar offenses in Georgia.