Assault and Alcohol: Exploring the Link and Defending Against Charges

May 26th, 2023
Assault and Alcohol: Exploring the Link and Defending Against Charges

There is a strong link between alcohol and criminal behaviour, supported by substantial research over many years. It is a cause-and-effect relationship: alcohol often plays a role in causing criminal behaviour. The reason ethyl alcohol often causes criminality is because alcohol is a depressant and slows down the nervous system. As our nervous systems are slowed down, our inhibitions go down, and our confidence goes up. So, someone who has perhaps fantasized about committing a crime, will, after a few drinks have more confidence to execute the crime and less inhibitory feelings to stop him or herself.

Extreme intoxication leading to a state called automatism used to be regularly used defence in court. However, in 2022, Bill C-28 came into effect, specifically to address this issue. It is much more difficult now to use an extreme intoxication defence, and the bar for automatism is much highly. Now, using an extreme intoxication defence has been greatly restricted, and having been dead drunk is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

So, if you have been charged with a crime in which alcohol may have played a role, you will need a very good defence strategy. Your lawyer is the best judge of what your defence should be based on the case and the applicable case law. Trust your lawyer and let him or her guide you on what is best for your individual case.

Hire a criminal lawyer as soon as possible and do not make any statements to the police without first consulting your lawyer. In BC, call Gagan Nahal for a free legal consultation at (604) 527-4769. 

Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients. 

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to Mr. Nahal, please call him directly at (604) 527-4769.