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When a Missouri resident is accused of a crime, there is always the question of whether intoxication can be used by an attorney as a defense. In general, it depends on if the person was voluntarily intoxicated or involuntarily intoxicated.

By definition, a person is intoxicated when the chemical substances they consumed has an effect on his or her actions. If someone becomes voluntarily intoxicated, that person chose to drink or take a chemical substance. This type of intoxication cannot be used as to any crime; however, an attorney may use voluntary intoxication as a defense for specific intent crimes as voluntary intoxication can negate intent.

People are deemed to become involuntarily intoxicated when they are forced to consume a chemical substance or if they unknowingly consumed a chemical substance. Pathological intoxication, which is when someone has an extremely adverse reaction to a substance that he or she was unknowingly susceptible to, may also be considered involuntary intoxication. This can be used as a defense if the intoxication caused the person to be completely unable to understand his or her actions. In order for this to work, the person must have been considered legally insane due to his or her mental state at the time the crime was committed.

There are situations where a person may be coerced to drink more alcohol than they normally would or where they are given an unknown substance without their knowledge. If they then commit a crime and are facing criminal charges, an attorney could potentially use the involuntary intoxication defense. Although this can be a difficult defense to utilize, witness testimony, security camera footage and other types of evidence can potentially show that the person did indeed become involuntarily intoxicated.

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