• Intoxication is not a defense in a prosecution for an offense and may not be taken into consideration in determining the existence of a mental state that is an element of the offense unless the defendant meets the requirements of IC 35-41-3-5.
• It is a defense that the person who engaged in the prohibited conduct did so while he was intoxicated, only if the intoxication resulted from the introduction of a substance into his body
(1) without his consent; or
(2) when he did not know that the substance might cause intoxication.
• Indiana law provides that intoxication is a defense only if the defendant did not consent to the introduction of the substance into his body or if the defendant was unaware the substance might cause intoxication.
• In 1997, our legislature enacted IC 35-41-2-5 and amended IC 35-41-3-5, the intoxication statute. IC 35-41-2-5 provides, “Intoxication is not a defense in a prosecution for an offense and may not be taken into consideration in determining the existence of a mental state that is an element of the offense unless the defendant meets the requirements of IC 35-41-3-5.” The amendment to IC 35-41-3-5 eliminated voluntary intoxication, limiting the intoxication defense to cases where “the intoxication resulted from the introduction of a substance into [the defendant’s] body: (1) without his consent; or (2) when he did not know that the substance might cause intoxication.” The legislature’s changes to the intoxication defense took effect on July 1, 1997 . . . .
Voluntary intoxication: In general
• [V]oluntary intoxication is not a defense in Indiana.
See Wells v. State, 848 N.E.2d 1133, 1147 n. 7 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), trans. denied, cert. denied, 549 U.S. 1322 (2007)(“Also, to the extent a person might have decreased judgment as to whether they are intoxicated, once they are in fact intoxicated, voluntary intoxication is not a defense to any crime in Indiana.”)
Voluntary intoxication: Relationship to mens rea
• Indiana Code section 35-41-2-5 provides that voluntary intoxication is not a defense in a prosecution for an offense and may not be taken into consideration in determining the existence of a mental state that is an element of the offense.
See Sanchez v. State, 749 N.E.2d 509, 517 (Ind. 2001)(quoting IC 35-41-2-5)(“The statute provides that voluntary intoxication ‘may not be taken into consideration in determining the existence of a mental state that is an element of the offense.’”)
See also Baer v. State, 942 N.E.2d 80, 97 (Ind. 2011), reh’g denied(citations to the record omitted)(“Another challenge relates to an instruction telling the jury that voluntary intoxication was not a defense and could not be taken into account when determining the mental state required for conviction. . . . This instruction was a correct statement of the law and was relevant in determining whether Baer committed his crimes intentionally.")
• We think “an element of the offense” refers to each unique mental element set forth in the statute defining the crime, and not to the general requirement of voluntary action that underlies all crimes. . . .
Cf. IC 35-41-2-1(a)(“A person commits an offense only if he voluntarily engages in conduct in violation of the statute defining the offense.”)
• The statute redefines the requirement of mens rea to include voluntary intoxication, in addition to the traditional mental states, i.e., intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly. Thus, evidence of voluntary intoxication does not negate the mens rea requirement . . . . Rather, it satisfies this element of the crime.
See Johnson v. State, 832 N.E.2d 985, 1001 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), reh’g denied, trans. denied(“In Sanchez, our supreme court made it clear that IC 35-41-2-5 and 35-41-3-5 do not allow the defense of voluntary intoxication to negate mens rea.”)
Involuntary intoxication: In general
• Involuntary intoxication is a defense to the crime charged if, as a result of the intoxication, the defendant was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of the conduct at the time of the offense.
Involuntary intoxication: Relationship to intent
• An involuntary intoxication defense disputes the existence of intent.
• [T]he defense of involuntary intoxication may afford a complete defense which excuses the criminality of an act. To operate as a complete defense, however, the intoxication must be shown to have been of such a degree as to have deprived the accused of the power to deliberate or form the necessary design or guilty intent.
Involuntary intoxication: Deciding whether the defendant formed the requisite intent
• Whether or not [a defendant’s] involuntary intoxication prevented him from forming the requisite intent is a question of fact for the jury and one upon which the [defendant] bears the burden of proof.
See Davidson v. State, 849 N.E.2d 591, 594 n. 1 (Ind. 2006)(emphasis added)(“This might have supported an instruction about intoxication as a defense, though none was submitted, perhaps because the narrow involuntary intoxication defense, where the burden is on the defendant, was unattractive strategy compared to an attempt to make “voluntariness” an element, thereby placing the burden on the prosecution.”)
Degree of intoxication
• The degree of intoxication is immaterial; rather, the issue is whether the accused was still able to form the mens rea required for the crime.
See Bassie v. State, 726 N.E.2d 242, 244 (Ind. 2000)(citing Barnes v. State, 693 N.E.2d 520, 522 (Ind. 1998))(“If the defendant was able to form the required mental element of the crime, the degree of intoxication is immaterial.”)
• A criminal defendant may have been grossly intoxicated and yet still capable of forming the requisite criminal intent.