I was drunk…is that a defense to the crime I am told I committed?
Yes, sometimes. Voluntary intoxication can be a defense to “specific intent” crimes. Specific intent crimes are those that require the accused to be in a specific mental state (mens rea) at the time of committing the crime. To put it simply, specific intent crimes require that the accused did a certain act with a specific intent or purpose. Examples of specific intent crimes include conspiracy, attempt crimes, premeditated murder, assault, larceny, forgery and solicitation. While voluntary intoxication can be raised as a defense to specific intent crimes in a court-martial, it is not always successful. Recently, in U.S. v. Martin, I presented this defense for an Army servicemember who had been convicted of sexual offenses at a court-martial. I was successful in convincing the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) that my client’s state of intoxication was such that he did not possess the specific intent to have sexual intercourse and cause a sexual contact by force. Based on this decision, my client’s original court-martial sentence was reduced. If you feel you may have a voluntary intoxication defense, call me. I have the experience you need and I will know what the best arguments are in your specific court-martial and/or appeal. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.