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Is too much to drink a defense against assault charges?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Over-indulgence and the Vegas area tend to go hand-in-hand in the minds of most people. The city has marketed itself as a place to get wild, and there are facilities that serve alcohol all over, especially near the strip.

Whether you are a tourist or a local resident, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to consume alcohol beyond what would be reasonable or safe given your size and metabolism. Sometimes, people who have too much to drink eventually find themselves arrested. Even if they don’t get behind the wheel of a car while drunk, they can engage in other behavior that violates Nevada criminal code.

For example, they may have gotten into a fistfight over something that would usually not even make them very upset and now face assault charges. The alcohol affected their behavior. Does intoxication present a defense option for those accused of assault or similar crimes committed after a night of heavy drinking?

Voluntary intoxication is not a defense

Nevada addresses intoxication defenses in state law. If you decide to go out drinking or to try other mind-altering substances, your voluntary intoxication is not a defense against criminal charges. You choose to consume the mind-altering substance, so you take responsibility for any actions that you commit after drinking.

The only intoxication defense possible is an involuntary intoxication defense. If someone drugged you without your knowledge, then your impairment could affect the charges against you.

There are numerous ways to fight assault charges

The rationale behind invoking intoxication in defense of an assault charge is that you don’t have the criminal intent to cause injury to someone else because of your impairment. While the intoxication doesn’t give you a defense, there are other ways to challenge the claim that you had criminal intent or broke the law.

Showing that you felt frightened for your physical safety prior to the physical altercation could allow you to claim self-defense, as could a scenario where the other party initiated the altercation entirely. Just because you can’t claim intoxication to avoid charges does not mean do you have to plead guilty. Exploring all of the possible defense options for your circumstances can help you better respond to criminal charges.