Intoxication is one of a number of excuse defenses that an individual can raise during his or her trial in an effort to avoid punishment or even lessen the crime with which he or she has been charged. When the defense of intoxication is raised, its success frequently depends on whether the intoxication was involuntary or voluntary. Needless to say, the majority of intoxication defense cases involve voluntary intoxication.
While many would wonder how a person involuntarily becomes intoxicated, there are a number of situations where it can come up. If a person is at a party or some sort of gathering and there is punch available, a person might spike the punch. If this is done and the guests don’t realize it, their intoxication is involuntary. Another example would be if a person asks for aspirin or some other painkiller for a headache and ends up being given something much stronger that results in intoxication, his or her intoxication is involuntary as well.
When a person’s intoxication is involuntary, the defense has a greater chance of success with a jury. Voluntary intoxication is usually only used to determine whether a person had the right mental state at the time of the crime to be tried for a certain severity of a crime or if he or she should be convicted of a lesser offense.