Legal Defense Unconsciousness / Involuntary Intoxication

Legal Defense Unconsciousness / Involuntary IntoxicationCalifornia Legal Defenses: Unconsciousness / Involuntary Intoxication

It is a longstanding legal principle in California that someone should not be guilty of committing a crime if they were not conscious of their actions. In situations where involuntary intoxication or some other factor rendered a person unable to control their actions, they may have a valid Legal Defense for whatever conduct may have been committed while unconscious.

Involuntary intoxication occurs when a person unwittingly consumes drugs or alcohol and subsequently becomes intoxicated. This is different from voluntary intoxication, in which a person intentionally sets out to get drunk or high. While the result may be the same in either scenario, those who fall victim to involuntary intoxication may have a valid legal defense against any crime they commit while in an intoxicated state. However, a person who voluntarily drinks or takes drugs may not use this defense.

Involuntary Intoxication as a defense may be asserted in prosecutions for Drunk in Public in violation of California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC. This crime requires that a defendant be "willfully drunk" in order to be criminally liable. Therefore, if someone accidentally and unknowingly drank spiked punch or were unwittingly fed a marijuana brownie, they would have a valid defense if they cause a scene in public, block a public byway, or otherwise violate the Drunk in Public statute.

Voluntary Intoxication may be taken into account in determining a person's mental state and the degree of criminal liability, but it is never a complete. Therefore if someone is arrested and charged with DUI in violation of Californian Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC or California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC, they cannot claim as a defense that they were too drunk to realize their actions if they purposefully got drunk, unless they were drugged without their knowledge.

There are other forms of unconscious actions that may clear a person of criminal liability besides involuntary intoxication. Sleepwalking and seizures are examples of unconscious behavior that may in some instances result in criminal acts being committed (i.e. someone having a seizure strikes another person). In these cases, the Unconsciousness defense would apply.

As one can imagine, claiming involuntary intoxication or unconsciousness as a defense is often met with scrutiny and even disbelief by law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and jurors. Because of this, it is important to have a skillful and experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney representing you in court. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who is highly respected throughout the court system. Because of the key relationships he has forged through his years of practice, Mr. Kraut is able to credibly and forcefully assert the best defense possible in fighting for his clients’ rights.

For more information about the Unconsciousness/Involuntary Intoxication Defense, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Client Reviews
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us.
I hired Attorney Mike Kraut and I'm am so happy and grateful that I did! I was arrested for a DUI because my BAC level was over the .08 limit. I ended up getting a wet and reckless instead of a DUI. I still have to do some classes and I'm on probation, but I do not have a DUI on my record. If you have a DUI hire Attorney Kraut, he definitely knows his stuff!
Avvo User
There aren't enough positive words to write about Mike, but let me be clear that this is the only lawyer worth hiring in Los Angeles. Mike is professional, caring, and an absolute champion at winning in court.
Kyle, Avvo User
Mike Kraut is not a typical lawyer. He is a straightforward person with a true heart and a sympathetic ear. He is also smart and connected and he cares about the people who seek out his help. He got my son out of a jam. He did it quickly and painlessly. I recommend Mike Kraut to anyone that needs his services.
Thank you Mike for helping my son.
Mark, Avvo User
Michael Kraut is a rock star lawyer. I was really happy and satisfied with the results I received from Michael and his team. A few months back I was being accused of a serious felony. Mike gave me sound legal advice and worked diligently to clear my name. Mike was great at always keeping me updated and returning calls. Great, great lawyer I cant say enough about this man!
Eric, Google User
How can I express how relieved and pleased I am with Michael's professional abilities to have my Felony brought down to a misdameanor to a possible dismissal with deferment. With his care my life has been turned around and cannot say how helpful he's been not only in my case but life. He, himself has changed how I view criminal lawyers. Thank you so much Michael!
Owen, Google User
He gave me the peace of mind that my DUI case was going to be resolved. He fought for what it was needed and helped me by answering all my questions. Mike is not an average attorney. He’s a very experienced, honest and straightforward person that is there for you!
Eve Sal