Intoxication, Defense of


Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

4 OJI 411.10 -- Intoxication and purpose (non-homicide case).
4 OJI 411.11 -- Intoxication, drugs or anger (homicide case).
R.C. 2901.21(C), as effective 10-27-2000 states: "Voluntary intoxication may not be taken into consideration in determining the existence of a mental state that is an element of a criminal offense. Voluntary intoxication does not relieve a person of a duty to act is failure to act constitutes a criminal offense. Evidence that a person was voluntarily intoxicated may be admissible to show whether or not the person was physically capable of performing the act with which the person is charged." Also see Montana v. Eglehoff (1996), 518 U.S. 37.
State v. Campbell, 90 Ohio St. 3d 320, 329, 2000-Ohio-183 -- Voluntary intoxication is relevant to mitigation in a death penalty case. But the court is not required to specifically instruct on intoxication as mitigation, since it falls within the "any other factors" category.
Montana v. Egelehoff (1996), 518 U.S. 37 -- Narrowly divided court finds Montana statute preventing consideration of intoxication does not violate due process.
>State v. Otte (1996), 74 Ohio St. 3d 555, 564 -- "Intoxication is not a defense, but where specific intent is a necessary element of the crime charged, the fact of intoxication may be shown to negate this element if the intoxication is such as to preclude the formation of such intent...Only where the defendant was '"so intoxicated as to be mentally unable to intend anything"' will his intoxication create a reasonable doubt as to his ability to form the specific intent essential to the charged felony." (Citations omitted.) Also see State v. Swank (February 23, 1982), Franklin Co. App. No. 81AP-749, unreported (1982 Opinions 315); State v. Fadgen (March 6, 1980), Franklin Co. App. No. 79AP-642, unreported (1980 Opinions 616) (discussion of jury instructions relating to blackouts); Long v. State (1923), 109 Ohio St. 77; United States v. LaVallie (8th Cir. 1981), 666 F. 2d 1217; Mann v. Gray (D.C. Ohio 1985), 622 F. Supp. 1225, 1230; State v. Norman (1982), 7 Ohio App. 3d 17.
State v. Fox (1981), 68 Ohio St. 2d 53 -- Syllabus: "Attempted murder, under R.C. 2923.02 and 2903.02, is a specific intent crime, for which evidence of voluntary intoxication may be taken in order to show defendant was thereby precluded from forming the necessary 'purpose' to commit murder. (Nichols v. State, 8 Ohio St. 435, followed.)" Also see Lytle v. State (1877), 31 Ohio St. 196, 198-199.
State v. Hicks (1989), 43 Ohio St. 3d 72 -- Syllabus: "The issue of intoxication is not raised as a defense to the element of purpose in a criminal prosecution merely because the evidence suggests reduced inhibitions, impaired judgment or blurred appreciation by the defendant of the consequences of his conduct."
State v. Mitts (1998), 81 Ohio St. 3d 223, 228 -- "It is within the sound discretion of the trial court to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to require a jury instruction on intoxication...Evidence of intoxication is sufficient to raise the intoxication defense only where, if believed, it would support acquittal..."
State v. Wilson (1996), 74 Ohio St. 3d 381, 393-394 -- It is error to instruct the jury that the defendant bears the burden of establishing intoxication by a preponderance of the evidence.
State v. Mundy (1994), 99 Ohio App. 3d 275, 293-295, 314-315 -- With regard to a specific intent offense, it is error to instruct the jury: "Evidence of intoxication is relevant, as previously indicated, in determining what a reasonable person would perceive but intoxication is not a defense because the State need not prove the defendant's intent." Trial court erroneously viewed GSI as a strict liability offense.
State v. Davis (1992), 81 Ohio App. 3d 706, 712-715 -- No abuse of discretion in refusing to instruct on intoxication where defendant had testified in detail as to events through time period preceding escape from Highway Patrol officer.
State v. Huertas (1990), 51 Ohio St. 3d 22, 27-28 -- (1) Though an expert on the effects of intoxication and the ability of the intoxicated person to suffer blackouts may be called at the penalty phase of a death penalty trial, an expert may not be called at the guilt phase as it would be tantamount to recognizing the defense of diminished capacity. (2) Intoxication does not make a defendant incapable of acting with prior calculation and design.
State v. Cooey (1989), 46 Ohio St. 3d 20, 26 -- "...(L)ay jurors need no expert testimony to determine whether the accused was too intoxicated to be able to intend anything."
State v. Toth (1978), 52 Ohio St. 2d 206, 210 -- "...(T)he defense of insanity cannot be successfully established simply on the basis that the condition resulted from the use of intoxicants or drugs, where such use is not shown to be habitual or chronic." Also see State v. Mosher (1987), 37 Ohio App. 3d 50; Rucker v. State (1928), 119 Ohio St. 189; Annotation, 8 A.L.R. 3d 1236, Sec. 6(b).
State v. Sowell (1988), 39 Ohio St. 3d 322 -- Voluntary intoxication may be considered as a mitigating factor at the penalty phase of a death penalty trial.

Publishing Information

Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
Contents may not be duplicated without express permission.