In a recent New York Criminal Assault case which was appealed to the New York Appellate Division, the defendant asked for his guilty conviction to be reversed. Originally, the defendant was found guilty of assault in the second degree after an altercation in a bar one evening. On appeal, he argued that the court should have given the jury the option of deciding that he did not have the necessary guilty intent because he was intoxicated, and his judgment was clouded by alcohol. Although, voluntary intoxication is generally not a defense in New York, Penal Law sec 15.25 makes clear that evidence of intoxication can be used to negate an element of a crime, such as intent. The court ultimately agreed with the defendant and reversed the judgment.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant in this case walked into a bar one evening holding a bottle of Heineken beer. He interacted with other patrons of the bar, and witnesses later described his behavior as “loud, obnoxious, and argumentative.” At one point, the bartender asked the defendant if he had a designated driver.
In an unclear string of events that followed, the defendant asked another individual to step outside. At this point, the defendant allegedly assaulted the victim, and he was later charged with assault in the second degree. At trial, the jury found the defendant guilty as charged.