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Can a fight at a bar lead to an alcohol-based assault defense?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

When a prosecutor accuses you of certain criminal activity, your intention at the time of the crime sometimes matters. Intention at the time of an incident can have a profound impact on which charges someone faces and how they choose to defend themselves in criminal court.

Sometimes, people use their mental state at the time of a specific incident as part of their defense strategy. Instead of claiming they did not break the law, they maintain that while they may have done something that would often be illegal, the circumstances make this case an exception.

For example, if you find yourself accused of assault or a similar violent offense after a fistfight at a bar, you might want to claim that your actions were the result of your chemical intoxication and that you did not have the capacity to intend harm to the other person. Does chemical impairment at the time of an altercation provide you with grounds for an intent-based affirmative defense?

Voluntary intoxication will not absolve you of culpability

State statutes actually do include a specific provision addressing intoxication at the time of an incident. Specifically, state law allows those who are involuntarily under the influence, such as someone who consumed an alcoholic beverage that another person had drugged, to use that involuntary state of intoxication as part of their defense strategy.

However, those who are under the influence because of their own decisions typically cannot use their altered chemical state as part of their criminal defense. When you consume alcohol or mind-altering drugs of your own volition, Georgia prosecutors can still hold you accountable for things that you do when you are in an impaired state.

Learning more about the law can lead to a better defense strategy

Realizing that the factors you thought would help your case will have minimal impact can lead to disappointment or fear, but learning more about how Georiga handles criminal charges will only empower you. The more you learn about what laws may apply to the charges you face, the easier will be for you to craft the appropriate defense strategy with the attorney helping represent you in criminal court.

Exploring affirmative defenses is only one option when you want to fight back against allegations of assault or other violent criminal acts.