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Intoxication as a defense for murder

| Jul 5, 2016 | Criminal Defense

It would be anyone’s worst nightmare to wake up in a holding cell, charged with a crime that will inevitably change your life and allegedly claimed someone else’s life. If you are charged with second-degree murder, it means you are facing charges for a murder that was not premeditated but resulted from depraved apathy toward human life, an intention to physically injure someone or an impulsion resulting from at least a base feeling of malice prior to the killing. In some cases, a second-degree charge can stem from a felony being committed that simultaneously and unintentionally resulted in a murder.

If your argument is that you were intoxicated, you must go about building a defense carefully and keeping a few things in mind. Namely, were you voluntarily intoxicated, meaning you chose to get drunk or high of your own accord? Or were you involuntarily intoxicated, meaning someone drugged you?

If you were voluntarily intoxicated and the influence of the intoxicant lead you to commit murder, you may be able to reduce a second-degree murder plea. However, this is a bit of a tight-rope walk because it could lead to added charges of aggravated criminal activity due to the very same intoxication.

If you were involuntarily intoxicated and the prosecutors cannot prove otherwise, you may be able to see all charges dropped. Keep in mind that this will not work if you claim a dependence on alcohol or drugs because you became hooked involuntarily. Furthermore, if you were already engaging in any level of intoxication and someone expedited or increased your level of intoxication by supplying you with additional intoxicants against your knowledge, your defense of involuntary intoxication will likely not hold weight.

Two very different outcomes can result from a defense of intoxication and it all comes down to one subtle difference in a word.

If you are living a nightmare and need help, a New York attorney may be able to come to your defense. With legal help providing you counsel, you may be able to reduce or eliminate criminal charges.