If you have been arrested while drunk, you may be confused as to whether you are still liable for the crime you have committed if you were not in a position to make reasonable decisions. Where there is no doubt you have committed the crime due to witnesses or footage of the crime, you may be contemplating if you can mount a defence that you feel you were not in full control of your decision-making ability at the time.
Here are some of the factors that a judge will look at when considering your responsibility for alcohol-related crimes.
The nature of the crime
For a violent crime or a crime against a person, the court tends to lean towards guilty and offer little mitigation if you were under the influence. Equally, there are several crimes that relate directly to alcohol usage, including drink driving, where you are not able to mitigate your crime due to a diminished ability to make decisions due to intoxication.
In either case you may receive some reduction for the time you may serve in prison if you express a willingness to enter into a rehabilitation process.
Your criminal history
If you have previous received some leniency by the court for criminal misdeeds, then reappear in front of the court on similar or worse crimes, you are likely to be treated more harshly. On the other hand, if you demonstrate that this was an out of character offence driven by unusual circumstances (such as the death of a family member or a lack of familiarity with alcohol) you may receive some considerations in your sentencing.
How much you had drunk
The court will review exactly how much you had drunk, as well as whether it was willingly consumed (i.e. no drink spiking was involved). While a small amount of alcohol may merely lower inhibitions (and make one more likely to commit minor infractions), a larger amount of alcohol, willingly consumed, is more likely to result in out of control behaviour.
To this end the court may also look at the interaction of your alcohol use with other medication. For example, if you became unexpectedly drunk due to mixing antibiotics and alcohol, this may be viewed more favourably than knowingly mixing alcohol and illegal drugs.
If you are truly sorry for the crime you have committed under the influence, and have made an attempt to apologise or make amends, the court will also view this better than an unrepentant offender.
If you are charged with a crime and wish to mount a defence on the basis of diminished responsibility due to intoxication, then you should contact a solicitor like Mark Shenken to determine if this is relevant in your case and how you should proceed.