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Is an alcohol intoxication defense possible for an assault or other crime?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2023 | DWI

Alcohol is one of the most popular mind-altering substances in the United States. Plenty of people consume alcohol on a daily basis. Many others will enjoy a few drinks on the weekend while out with friends. Alcohol disinhibits people, meaning that they may become more social and spontaneous. They can sometimes also become more aggressive. Alcohol consumption therefore has a strong association with physical fights and acts of violence.

If someone drinks too much and gets into a fistfight at a bar or a party, is their intoxication potentially grounds for a defense against Texas assault charges?

Voluntary intoxication does not excuse criminal behavior

People sometimes defend against charges by proving that the state has accused the wrong person or misunderstood the situation. They may try to prove they didn’t break the law or weren’t the person involved in the incident. Other times, they may question how the police interpreted the situation.

Texas state laws recognize an assortment of affirmative defenses that people can use during a criminal trial. An affirmative defense involves acknowledging that someone did something that looks illegal but asserting that certain factors eliminate criminal responsibility.

In Texas, people can defend against assault charges with a claim that they acted in self-defense. However, a claim of voluntary intoxication would not be a viable defense strategy. The law specifically notes that individuals who choose to drink accept the consequences of that decision, including the increased likelihood of spontaneous misconduct.

The only time someone’s intoxication might influence their criminal defense strategy is when someone else gave them alcohol or drugs without their knowledge or consent. As such, seeking legal guidance and learning more about this and additional strategies for responding to alcohol-related crimes may benefit those recently arrested in Texas.