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Is intoxication a valid defense to a crime?

When a crime has been committed, it is expected under the law that the person who committed the crime had full knowledge of what one was doing, and acted with liberty in doing so. For example, if a person was forced by another to commit a crime, with a threat of death or serious injury, it is possible that he or she will be acquitted of the crime in certain circumstances. When a person suffers from alcoholism, it can be argued that this person suffers from an illness that he or she has very little control over, and when the individual is extremely intoxicated, he or she is unaware of the nature of one's actions and unable to make responsible decisions.

In this sense, intoxication can be a defense to certain crimes but in reality it only applies to certain limited situations. The main factors that will determine whether intoxication can be used as a defense depend largely on whether the defendant was voluntarily or involuntarily intoxicated.

What is involuntary intoxication?

Involuntary intoxication is when a person becomes intoxicated without intending to consume alcohol or drugs. This could be a situation where a person has a date rape drug in one's drink. If he or she is tricked into becoming intoxicated in this way and go on to committing a crime such as petty theft, the crime may be acquitted. In these defense cases, it must be proven that the incident of becoming involuntarily intoxicated meant that the defendant was not able to differentiate from right or wrong, or unable to understand the consequences of one's actions.

Is voluntary intoxication defensible?

It is much more challenging to be able to successfully make a defense based on voluntary intoxication. However, it may have some success in crimes that have intent as one of their main elements, for example, burglary. People may be able to defend themselves by proving that through their intoxication they lacked the ability to have intent.

If you have been convicted of a crime that occured when you were intoxicated, it might be possible to use this as a defense in Kentucky. Make sure to understand how the law relates to your specific situation.

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