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Can alcohol intoxication be your defense against assault charges?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Acts of physical violence and threats that other people take seriously could lead to assault charges under Texas law. Those accused of assault will face not just incarceration but also a violent offense on their criminal record.

Assault convictions could impact everything from your student aid when you go back for a college or graduate degree to whether you qualify for a promotion at work. Even landlords will check your criminal record before signing a lease with you.

Mounting a rigorous defense can help those accused of assault charges protect their reputations. If there is clear evidence, like security camera footage or multiple witness statements, tying you to an altercation, you may not be able to deny your involvement. Could you claim that alcohol was to blame for the situation turning violent?

Texas has rules about intoxication defenses

Everyone understands that alcohol affects their cognitive ability, memory and even motor function. When you choose to drink, you do so knowing that the alcohol will impact your behavior and put you at risk of making a big mistake. Although alcohol does limit your legal capacity, it does not absolve you of responsibility for acts of violence.

Texas state law explicitly prohibits claims of voluntary intoxication as an affirmative defense. You cannot claim that you did not commit a crime because consuming alcohol absolves you of responsibility for your actions. The decision to drink makes you responsible for your actions while under the influence.

The only time that your intoxication provides a defense against pending charges is if someone drugs you without your consent. If a person adds more shots to your drink than you agreed to or if someone put a drug in your drink, then you could potentially defend yourself by claiming that you did not consent to that level of intoxication. For most people, however, their consumption of alcohol before a fight will not help them defend against assault charges.

There are many different strategies that can help

While you may not be able to blame your decisions on alcohol, that doesn’t mean you just have to plead guilty to the charge either. You could demonstrate that you acted in self-defense or challenge the evidence used against you in court.

Understanding the rules that apply to defense strategies will help you fight back against Texas assault charges.

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