Legal processes are often beyond the understanding of most people, and even for the seemingly simplest of cases, there are conditions that many may not agree with and actually find quite unfair, especially for the complainants. Take, for example, a violent act displayed because of intoxication; the judgment is rarely as simple as establishing the wrongdoing done and implementing a penalty based on the gravity of the act. A lot of people have this understanding that the law will always sway towards the complainant’s favor and that physical harm inflicted by someone, be that person intoxicated or not, automatically warrants goal time and compensation for whatever emotional distress the accused subjected to the complainant. A defense of intoxication can easily change the legal course and the accused may appear to be a victim of circumstances as well.
The law states that the grounds for defense are rooted in “intent” – meaning an intoxicated person can only be charged if he/she manifested clear and established intent of physical harm on another person. It’s not sufficient that there’s evidence of physical damages on the complainant. Rather, the focus of the case is to prove that the accused truly wanted to inflict physical harm or the action was premeditated to bring about a specific result.
Apart from these conditions, the court can also take into great consideration the degree of intoxication of the accused to prove how solid the intent was. In many cases, when the intoxication level of the accused was low, legal professionals claim that proving intent becomes easier because with low toxicity levels, most people still retain the ability to think logically and regulate their behavior.
Legal experts, however, reveal that all the evidence establishing intoxication of the accused will be considered irrelevant if the accused had either resolved before getting intoxicated to carry out his/her intentions, or got intoxicated in order to strengthen his/her resolve to carry out the relevant conduct. Yet again, it all centers on “intent.”
Now, in the course of a defense of intoxication, one might frequently hear some terminologies like “relevant conduct,” “drug,” and “self-induced intoxication” — these are thrown around repeatedly and presented in various contexts. To increase understanding on how these often used terminologies impact a defense of intoxication, their meanings are provided below:
“Relevant conduct” means the act or omission necessary to constitute the wrongdoing. As for “drug,” when this is mentioned in the defense this always means a poison, restricted substance, or drug of addiction. And lastly, “self-induced intoxication” — when this is mentioned, it basically means any type of intoxication except when it was involuntary or forced upon by another person in order to be able to do the relevant conduct.
By understanding all these conditions, victims and even the accused can be directed on which appropriate action to take should they find themselves caught up in a legal case involving intoxication.
About the author:
Calvin John McPhee is an educational consultant and a freelance writer. He writes articles about education, legal advice, rules and regulations and other topics that can help individuals learn more about education and law. In order to increase his knowledge about law, he visits www.CRIMINAL-LAWYERS.com.au to know the essential aspects of law that can help individuals.