Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

Can alcohol be a defense against domestic violence charges?

Domestic violence is one of the most common violent offenses that occurs in New Jersey. There are arguably dozens of domestic violence incidents that occur for every one that someone reports to the police.

Even when the police go out to a disturbance, they often don’t arrest either party. When they do, they might aggressively charge the person they think is responsible for the situation. Some circumstances involving domestic violence have a clear imbalance of power. Other times, each spouse may contribute to the violence.

Trying to defend yourself against domestic violence charges can require some careful planning if you hope to succeed, developing a strategy early in the process is usually a smart approach. Does intoxication prior to the incident give you grounds for a defense?

New Jersey does not consider voluntary intoxication a defense

If you have too much to drink, the state courts may not recognize a contract that you signed in that diminished personal state. Alcohol not only disinhibits you but can affect your reasoning. However, the average person understands that alcohol is going to impact their behavior, and they accept that risk when they choose to consume a drink.

Regardless of how high their blood alcohol concentration was at the time of their arrest, impairment alone is not a defense for committing a criminal act. However, in a situation where you can show that you did not consent to the drink or that someone drugged you, your impairment could play a role in your defense strategy.

Domestic violence charges can affect everything from your right to live at home to your ability to legally own a firearm. A careful defense strategy may be necessary to preserve your freedom and rights.

FindLaw Network

As Seen In

  • New Jersey Monthly
  • MTV
  • Super Lawyers
  • app | Part of the USA Today Network