Intoxication as a Defense

Voluntary Intoxication

courtmartialdefenselawyers10.57.18 2According to RCM 916(l)(2) voluntary intoxication from alcohol or drugs may negate the elements of premeditation, specific intent, knowledge, or willfulness.   However, according to United States v. Morgan, 37 M.J. 407 (C.M.A. 1993), voluntary intoxication, by itself, will not reduce unpremeditated murder to a lesser offense. Voluntary intoxication not amounting to legal insanity is not a defense to general intent crimes. See generally Major Eugene Milhizer, Weapons Systems Warranties: Voluntary Intoxication as a Defense Under Military Law, 127 MIL. L. REV. 131 (1990).

Involuntary Intoxication

Generally, involuntary intoxication is a defense to a general or specific intent crime. See United States v. Hensler, 44 M.J. 184 (C.A.A.F. 1996). However, in United States v. Ward, 14 M.J. 950 (A.C.M.R. 1982), the Court held that the defense of involuntary intoxication is not available when the defendant knowingly used marijuana, but did not know it also contained PCP.