Experienced Criminal Defense Services

Can too much to drink help your defense for assault charges?

It is usually illegal to use physical force against another person. New York might charge you with assault if you get into a fight with someone at a party or injure someone in a fit of anger.

Assault charges can lead to criminal consequences as well as social penalties. You could lose your job in some cases or your professional licensing over a conviction for a violent criminal offense. Defending yourself against those charges could help you move on with your life after one mistake puts your future at risk.

If you can prove that you had enjoyed far too much to drink prior to the physical altercation, could your intoxication play a role in your defense?

Alcohol affects decision-making but does not absolve you of responsibility

There’s little question that alcohol will affect your judgment and your mood, especially if you drink too much. While alcohol intoxication won’t completely change someone’s personality, it can disinhibit them, allowing them to act more freely. It can also heighten their emotions, making them more susceptible to irrational choices.

The effects of alcohol on the human body are well-known, and you understood those risks when you decided to drink. The New York criminal courts typically do not allow people to defend against charges by making a claim that they voluntarily consumed too much alcohol.

Even if you were so intoxicated that you can’t remember what happened, your impairment will not absolve you of criminal responsibility. The only exception to this rule is if you can prove involuntary impairment. If someone lied to you about the alcohol content in a drink or drugged your beverage, then you could potentially claim that you did consent to the impairment and therefore were not responsible for your behavior while under the influence.

There are other viable defense strategies

While you can’t use your intoxication alone to fight back against assault charges, you could integrate your impairment into a different defense. Your state of mind could play a role when you claim self-defense, for example. Someone facing assault charges will need to very carefully review the evidence that the state has to determine the best defense strategy for their situation.

Knowing what rules apply when planning your defense for assault charges could help you avoid a criminal conviction.