Voluntary Intoxication is an intentional ingestion of alcohol or drugs resulting in impairment done with the knowledge and understanding that one's physical and mental capabilities will be impaired. Voluntary Intoxication is not a defense to a general intent crime, but may be used to refute the existence of a particular state of mind for a specific-intent crime. Voluntary Intoxication can show that the defendant did not have the criminal mental state (mens rea) necessary for the offense. See Penal Code section 22.
California Penal Code section 22:
- No act committed by a person while in a state of voluntary intoxication is less criminal by reason of his or her having been in that condition. Evidence of voluntary intoxication shall not be admitted to negate the capacity to form any mental state for the crimes charged including, but not limited to, purpose, intent, knowledge, premeditation, deliberation, or malice aforethought, with which the accused committed that act.
- Evidence of voluntary intoxication is admissible solely on the issue of whether or not the defendant actually formed a required specific intent, or, when charged with murder, whether the defendant premeditated, deliberated, or harbored express malice aforethought.
- Voluntary intoxication includes the voluntary ingestion, injection, or taking by any other means of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or other substance.
If you are being charged with a crime involving a Voluntary Intoxication issue, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about your rights and legal defenses.