Posted On: November 9, 2012 by Mary Frances Prevost

VOLUNTARY AND INVOLUNTARY INTOXICATION AND UNCONSCIOUSNESS AS A DEFENSE

The defendant took prescription Ambien and then fell asleep. He ended up driving and was arrested and convicted of DUI drugs. His defense was that he was sleep driving.

This Court of Appeal articulates the rules governing involuntary intoxication (a complete defense) as opposed to voluntary intoxication (no defense). They uphold instructions telling
the jury that if it found that the defendant knew or had reason to know that his use of Ambien could cause sleep driving, this was not involuntary intoxication. If he didn't know and couldn't reasonably have known that his use of Ambien could cause sleep driving, this was involuntary intoxication and the resulting unconsciousness is a complete defense to driving under the influence.

People v. Mathson; 2012 DJ DAR 15322; DJ, 11/8/12; C/A 3rd