Criminal Law. In most states, voluntary intoxication may be a valid defense to specific intent crimes if it negates the requisite mental state. However, voluntary intoxication is not a defense to crimes involving malice, recklessness, negligence, or strict liability.
California Criminal Jury Instruction No. 3426. Voluntary Intoxication (Pen. Code, § 29.4)
You may consider evidence, if any, of the defendant’s voluntary intoxication only in a limited way. You may consider that evidence only
in deciding whether the defendant acted [or failed to do an act] with <insert speciﬁc intent or mental state required, e.g., “the intent to permanently deprive the owner of his or her property” or “knowledge that . . .” or “the intent to do the act required”>.
A person is voluntarily intoxicated if he or she becomes intoxicated by willingly using any intoxicating drug, drink, or other substance knowing that it could produce an intoxicating effect, or willingly assuming the risk of that effect.
In connection with the charge of <insert ﬁrst charged offense requiring speciﬁc intent or mental state> the People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted [or failed to act] with <insert speciﬁc intent or mental state required, e.g., “the intent to permanently deprive the owner of his or her property” or “knowledge that . . .”>. If the People have not met this burden, you must ﬁnd the defendant not guilty of <insert ﬁrst charged offense requiring speciﬁc intent or mental state>.
<Repeat this paragraph for each offense requiring speciﬁc intent or a speciﬁc mental state.>
You may not consider evidence of voluntary intoxication for any other purpose. [Voluntary intoxication is not a defense to <insert general intent offense[s]>.]
The court has no sua sponte duty to instruct on voluntary intoxication; however, the trial court must give this instruction on request. (People v. Ricardi (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 1427, 1432 [12 Cal.Rptr.2d 364]; People v. Castillo (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1009, 1014 [68 Cal.Rptr.2d 648, 945 P.2d 1197]; People v. Saille (1991) 54 Cal.3d 1103, 1119 [2 Cal.Rptr.2d 364, 820 P.2d 588].) Although voluntary intoxication is not an affirmative defense to a crime, the jury may consider evidence of voluntary intoxication and its effect on the defendant’s required mental state. (Pen. Code, § 29.4; People v. Reyes (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 975, 982–986 [61 Cal.Rptr.2d 39] [relevant to knowledge element in receiving stolen property]; People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1114, 1131–1134 [77 Cal.Rptr.2d 428, 959 P.2d 735] [relevant to mental state in aiding and abetting].)
Voluntary intoxication may not be considered for general intent crimes. (People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1114, 1127–1128 [77 Cal.Rptr.2d 428, 959 P.2d 735]; People v. Atkins (2001) 25 Cal.4th 76, 81 [104 Cal.Rptr.2d 738, 18 P.3d 660]; see also People v. Hood (1969) 1 Cal.3d 444, 451 [82 Cal.Rptr. 618, 462 P.2d 370] [applying speciﬁc vs. general intent analysis and holding that assault type crimes are general intent; subsequently superseded by amendments to former Penal Code Section 22 [now Penal Code section 29.4] on a different point].)
If both speciﬁc and general intent crimes are charged, the court must specify the general intent crimes in the bracketed portion of the last sentence and instruct the jury that voluntary intoxication is not a defense to those crimes. (People v. Aguirre (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 391, 399–402 [37 Cal.Rptr.2d 48]; People v. Rivera (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 141, 145–146 [207 Cal.Rptr. 756].)
If the defendant claims unconsciousness due to involuntary intoxication as a defense to driving under the inﬂuence, see People v. Mathson (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 1297, 1317–1323 [149 Cal.Rptr.3d 167].
The court may need to modify this instruction if given with CALCRIM No. 362, Consciousness of Guilt. (People v. Wiidanen (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 526, 528, 533 [135 Cal.Rptr.3d 736].)