How Intoxication Can Be a Defense to a Crime in New Jersey

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jan 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

Involuntary Intoxication as a Defense

If a medication error results in violent behavior and an arrest, proving that the medication was responsible can be a challenge. In New Jersey, involuntary intoxication is recognized as a defense against criminal liability so long as certain conditions are met.

This defense applies when:

  1. the defendant consumed alcohol or drugs without his knowledge;
  2. his intoxication was not self-induced; and
  3. his intoxication resulted in an impairment of his mental or physical capacity.

If all three conditions are satisfied, then he has established involuntary intoxication and will not be held criminally liable for any crime committed while under its influence.

It's important to note that involuntary intoxication does not excuse intentional crimes such as murder or assault, but it does provide protection for offenses involving lesser charges such as public disturbances. Additionally, there must be sufficient evidence that the individual was indeed intoxicated at the time of the crime, which can include blood tests, eyewitness accounts, and lab analysis of suspected substances. To further strengthen their case, defendants must also demonstrate that they were unaware of what they were ingesting or showed ignorance concerning its effects on their mental or physical state prior to committing an act.

Voluntary Intoxication as a Defense

Voluntary intoxication is not generally accepted as a defense against criminal liability in the state of New Jersey. Should you commit a violent criminal act while under the influence of voluntarily consumed alcohol or drugs, you can be held criminally liable under the same circumstances as if you were sober. The only exception occurs when voluntary intoxication is so extreme that it can be reasonably assumed to negate the element of intent or knowledge necessary for conviction. As such, it is important to keep in mind that proving voluntary intoxication goes beyond merely stating that you consumed alcohol or drugs prior to committing a criminal act.

You must also offer sufficient evidence to demonstrate that your mental and physical capacities were significantly impaired due to ingestion of the substances and how this resulted in an inability to form intent or knowledge. Additionally, defendants should provide documentation confirming their level of intoxication at the time. While voluntary intoxication is not a valid defense against crimes involving violence, other lesser offenses, such as public disturbances, may be eligible for exemption.

Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice

If you are facing a violent crime allegation, then it is critical to explore all potential defenses. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in the state of New Jersey. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team is the right choice.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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