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Involuntary Intoxication as a Homicide Defense in Wisconsin

Involuntary Intoxication as a Homicide Defense in Wisconsin

When you face homicide charges in Wisconsin, the stakes are incredibly high. A conviction could result in severe penalties, including a lengthy prison sentence. In certain rare circumstances, defendants may consider using involuntary intoxication as a defense strategy. However, the burden of proof for this defense is substantial, and it applies only in specific situations.

Understanding Involuntary Intoxication

Involuntary intoxication occurs when a person becomes intoxicated due to factors beyond their control. This could involve scenarios such as:

  • Someone spiking your drink without your knowledge
  • Another person forcing or tricking you into consuming drugs
  • Experiencing severe, unexpected side effects from a prescribed medication

It’s crucial to note that simply being drunk or high when the alleged crime took place does not constitute involuntary intoxication. The intoxication must have occurred against your will or without your awareness.

The High Bar for Involuntary Intoxication Defense

For involuntary intoxication to serve as a viable defense in a homicide case, it must meet a very high standard. The defense must demonstrate that the intoxication was so severe that it rendered you incapable of distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the incident. Alternatively, your attorney must show that the intoxicated state prevented you from forming the requisite mental state (such as intent) to be convicted of the specific homicide charge.

Meeting this burden of proof is exceptionally challenging. It requires strong evidence that the intoxication was truly involuntary and that it significantly impaired your cognitive abilities and decision-making capacity. Given these high standards, the involuntary intoxication defense is rarely used and even more rarely successful.

Homicide Charges and Intoxication

It’s important to understand that if you commit a homicide while voluntarily intoxicated, you cannot use your intoxicated state as a defense. Voluntary intoxication does not negate criminal responsibility.

Moreover, if your intoxication directly leads to a homicide, such as in cases of driving under the influence, you would likely face charges specific to that situation. For example, causing someone’s death while operating a vehicle under the influence could result in charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle (OWI homicide). Involuntary intoxication would not apply as a defense in these circumstances.

Depending on the specific facts of the case, a homicide committed while intoxicated would typically not be charged as first-degree intentional homicide. Instead, prosecutors might pursue charges such as first-degree reckless homicide if the situation warranted it.

Exploring Your Defense Options

When you face homicide charges in Wisconsin, it’s essential to explore all potential defense strategies with an experienced criminal defense attorney. While involuntary intoxication may not be a viable option in most cases, other defenses could apply based on your unique circumstances.

Your attorney will carefully review the facts of your case, the evidence against you, and the specific charges you face. They will work tirelessly to identify the most effective defense strategy to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome.

Speak with a Skilled Homicide Defense Attorney

If you face homicide charges in the Milwaukee area or elsewhere in southeastern Wisconsin, do not wait to seek legal representation. The knowledgeable attorneys at Ahmad & Nolan Defense are ready to put their extensive experience to work for you. We have successfully gotten felony charges dismissed and won numerous felony cases at trial.

Take the first step to protecting your future and contact Ahmad & Nolan Defense today. Call us at (414) 501-5999 or reach out online for a free consultation. Together, we will fight for your rights and work toward the most favorable resolution possible in your case.