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Using the 'involuntary intoxication' defense against criminal charges

There are many unique or little-used defenses against criminal charges, and one of those is the "involuntary intoxication" defense. This has been successfully used in the past, but only in very extenuating circumstances.

The Washington Post points out that the smoking cessation pill Chantix has twice been used as a defense of this type, because the effects of the drug made the person taking it act as though they were extremely intoxicated.

Because people reacted to the medication through no fault of their own, it was difficult for the legal system to hold them completely responsible for their criminal actions.

So What Exactly Is Involuntary Intoxication?

When a person becomes involuntarily intoxicated, it means they have taken a medication or otherwise been exposed to something that has caused them to act as if they were drunk. However, because they were not attempting to become intoxicated, and there was no deliberate act on their part, they may not be liable for some or all of what they do.

This type of intoxication is not common, but it can and does happen to some people, depending on the types of medications they take. Sometimes medication interactions or medical conditions can also produce this same kind of effect.

Is This Defense Right for You?

Anyone considering the involuntary intoxication defense should know that it is a difficult defense to use. Many people are skeptical of its legitimacy, and it may be difficult to prove that a specific medication affected you that way when it doesn't commonly affect other people in the same manner.

Despite that, there are times when this defense is very valid, and if you have truly been involuntarily intoxicated and have been charged with a criminal act during that time, it may be possible to avoid or reduce penalties for the crime that was committed.

Make Sure You Get The Right Attorney To Help You

If you plan to use an involuntary intoxication defense, one of the first things you'll want to do is find a skilled lawyer. Because this defense is relatively rare, it's critical to have an experienced professional on your side. Don't try to beat the charges on your own.

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