Essay on Voluntary Intoxication - Essay Prowess

Essay on Voluntary Intoxication


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Voluntary Intoxication as a Defense

Intoxication as a defense in law has created a great debate over centuries. There are those who support and against the existence of intoxication as a defense. Intoxication can be a channel of defense by a criminal defendant if there is enough evidence that the victim could not understand his actions since he was intoxicated. However, scenarios related to intoxication defense occurs in rare cases, and it typically depends on whether it was involuntary or voluntary[1].

Establishing a defense of voluntary intoxication may be a complicated one compare to involuntary intoxication. Based on legal standards, voluntary intoxication can be only applied as a tool of defense only in given types of crimes, and even on the few scenarios, juries are less likely a defense of intoxication.  Unlike involuntary intoxication, voluntary intoxication does not act as a defense to a general intent crime. But on the other hand, voluntary intoxication can be used as defense to particular intent crime if found out that the it the action protected the defendant from having a criminal intent that could easily commit the crime. Therefore, the defendant can argue that since he was so intoxicated, he did not commit the offence.  However, in many states, crimes of voluntary intoxication are acknowledged as a confirmatory defense but the defendant must provide enough evidence that proves he did not have the intention[2].

In some cases, the defense of voluntary intoxication does not assure the defendant of guiltiness; instead, it may reduce the overall culpability for the crime. A good example of a voluntary intoxication is when a person consumes liquor and experience a severe reaction that makes him be more intoxicated and the victim tend to behave abnormally. If the victim commits a crime under this condition, the law may understand his situation and consider him in the kind of judgment they will make.

Defendant Legally Uses Deadly Force in Self-Defense

Everyone has right to defend himself even in the use of legal and justifiable deadly force. However, each state has a self-defense statutes that outlines how and when an individual should use the deadly force as a defensive strategy. When an individual decides to carry a gun for personal defense, it means that this individual has taken up a great responsibility to protect himself, the family, friends or others whenever he goes. Therefore, such people who have the behavior of carrying weapons should also maintain self-control. They should also ensure that they avoid some of the potentially lethal situations[3].

It is illegal to shoot someone in self-defense especially if you are the main cause of the attack. However, different states recognize the use of deadly force when the attacker is with no doubt is ready to commit a felony. Different states have their own definition of a felony. For instance, some state define “forcible felony” as a form of robbery which deserves a death sentence for the victim. This has led to big debate on whether a person have the right to defend himself if found with this offense. Sometimes, it takes long for police or respective bodies to respond to a certain crime of scene. Therefore, the states governments should allow armed individuals to assist in settling the problem in such situations. However, measures should be taken if it is found out that you the person had the ability to escape. Some states have charged people found with such offense with murder. On the other hand, police officers may use deadly force while enforcing the law[4].


McGuinness, J. Michael, Shootings by Police Officers Are Analyzed Under Standards Based on Objective Reasonableness. New York State Bar Association Journal 72 (2000): 17.

Owens, Michael Douglas, The Inherent Constitutionality of the Police Use of Deadly Force to Stop Dangerous Pursuits.” Mercer Law Review 52 (2001): 1599– 1643.

Williams, Rebecca. Voluntary Intoxication, Sexual Assault and the Future of Majewski. Cam. Law. J. 66.02 (2007): 260.