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How to Defend Yourself Against Criminal Charges You Incurred While Intoxicated

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Earlier this fall, an off-duty Pennsylvania police officer was seen on security cameras, allegedly slashing the tires of cars parked outside of a local restaurant he had been patronizing. While many details are still unknown, police stated that the restaurant's servers had refused to serve the officer more alcohol. The incident caused a whopping $5,500 in damages.

Intoxication as a Defense

It may seem that this officer is guilty as charged and will have no way to reduce or even drop the charges against him. But many states in America, including Pennsylvania, allow a defendant to use intoxication as a defense to their charges. A defendant can only successfully claim intoxication as a defense if they can prove that their altered mental state prevented them from having the requisite “mens rea.”

What is Mens Rea?

For a defendant to be guilty of a crime, they must have (1) performed the act, and (2) had a particular state of mind while doing so. If the defendant knowingly participated in the act, they have the required mens rea to be found guilty of the crime. For the prosecution to prove a defendant knowingly participated in the act, they must show beyond a reasonable doubt that at the moment, the defendant was almost certain that the act would cause a particular result.

In the instance above, if the police officer were able to show that his inebriated state made it impossible for him to knowingly and purposefully slash the tires of the vehicles outside the restaurant, he would not have the required mens rea to fulfill the definition of the crime.

How a Criminal Attorney Can Help

Arguing that you were too intoxicated to understand that your actions fit a specific offense can be a tough sell. Courts are very hesitant to allow a defendant to use the “I was drunk” excuse to get them off the hook. In fact, many states break down the intoxication defense and require defendants to explain whether they were involuntarily or voluntarily intoxicated. In these states, involuntary intoxication is an easier threshold for the defense to meet.

Arrests that were made while you, or a family member, were intoxicated can be hard to manage. Defendants who were intoxicated at the time of arrest may not remember being read their Miranda rights or may have waived their rights when they shouldn't have. Intoxicated arrestees are less inhibited and more inclined to speak without representation, use poor judgment when being questioned, or even forget key points of the alleged crime. That's why having a skilled criminal attorney on your side from the moment of your arrest is essential. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a dedicated criminal attorney who fights passionately for his clients' futures by building solid defenses to reduce or even drop their criminal charges. You don't have to go through this alone. Call 888.535.5353 today to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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