New Jersey Intoxication Defense
New Jersey Intoxication defense is a defense to crimes requiring either “purposeful” or “knowing” mental states.
The state has the burden of disproving this defense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Self induced intoxication is not a defense, unless it negates an element of the offense.
Self induced intoxication is not a defense to offenses which only require proof of a culpability - responsibility - of either negligence, recklessness, or recklessness manifesting extreme human indifference to human life.
Hence, evidence of intoxication is admissible as a defense to murder to disprove that a defendant acted purposely or knowingly but not as a defense to aggravated manslaughter, nor manslaughter to show that he was unaware of a risk of which he should have been aware had he been sober.
Intoxication should not be charged as a defense unless there is reliable evidence that the defendant ingested drugs or alcohol and there was an incapacitation of judgment due to such substances.
Some of the factors which are important in determining whether the intoxication may have sufficient grounds to be raised as a defense is the quantity consumed, period of time involved, actor’s conduct perceived by others, any odor of alcohol or other intoxicating substance, the results of any test to determine blood alcohol content and the actor’s ability to recall significant events.
The jury must determine whether the intoxication prevented the defendant from acting knowingly or purposely.
Intoxication which is not self induced is an affirmative defense which the defendant has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence.
If a defendant voluntarily ingests a large amount of illegal intoxicants or legal intoxicants, he cannot assert the defense that he unexpectedly reacted violently to those drugs due to an unknown underlying pathological condition.
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