Is Intoxication a Criminal Defense in Florida?

People that are under the influence of alcohol or drugs do not always make the best decisions. Sometimes, a decision made under the influence can lead to criminal charges for retail theft, marijuana possession, or even more serious charges. In some cases, people may not even remember the events surrounding their criminal case. This lack of memory can often lead to the question: is intoxication a valid defense to a criminal defense in Florida? The answer to this, as with so many legal questions, is that it depends on the facts of the case.

Voluntary Intoxication Is Not a Defense

Voluntary intoxication has not been a viable defense in Florida since 1999, when lawmakers created a law that no longer made it possible. This means that when someone consumes alcohol or takes drugs and loses control, which causes them to commit a crime, they are still criminally responsible for committing the act.

However, it is always important to remember that being charged with a criminal offense is not the same thing as being convicted of a crime. Even if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs and cannot remember what happened, or do remember and you know you are innocent, a criminal defense lawyer can help with your case. While intoxication cannot be used as a defense, there are many others available that can help you avoid a conviction and the harsh penalties that are associated with it.

Involuntary Intoxication Is a Defense

While voluntary intoxication is not a criminal defense, involuntary intoxication is often used as a criminal defense. Involuntary intoxication is just that. It occurs when a person becomes intoxicated when they did not intend to. One of the most often cited examples is when one person slips something into another person’s drink. The person that consumes the drink then becomes involuntary intoxicated and may commit a crime that they are not responsible for.

There is another common type of involuntary intoxication that is often used as a criminal defense, as well. This occurs when a doctor prescribes someone medication and does not prescribe them the right dosage, or does not warn the patient that it can cause intoxication. In these cases, the patient does not realize they are intoxicated and may be pulled over for a DUI or charged with another crime. Again, you will need a criminal defense lawyer that knows how to build a strong case using this defense so you have the best chance of success with your case.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Florida Can Help with Your Case

Intoxication is a valid criminal defense in certain circumstances, but there are others available, as well. At O’Mara Law Group, our Orlando criminal defense lawyers know the many defenses available to different crimes and we will advise on which one is right for your case and give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction. Call us today at 407-898-5151 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation so we can review your case.


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