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INTOXICATION NEGATING AN ELEMENT model jury charge 2C:2‑8a

INTOXICATION NEGATING AN ELEMENT OF THE OFFENSE model jury charge

[1]

(N.J.S.A. 2C:2‑8a)

There is evidence in this case concerning the use by the defendant of (intoxicant ) (prior to and) on the day in question.

Generally a defendant is not relieved of criminal responsibility because he/she is found to have acted under the influence of an intoxicating beverage (or drugs). The general assumption is that every person is normal and is possessed of ordinary faculties. The State need not prove that the defendant was sober.

You may consider the evidence as to defendants consumption of alcoholic beverages (or drugs, if appropriate) in determining whether he/she was intoxicated to such a degree that he/she was incapable of acting (purposely or knowingly).

Therefore, once there is some evidence of defendants intoxication, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that such intoxication did not render defendant incapable of acting (purposely or knowingly).

Intoxication under our law means a disturbance of mental or physical capacities resulting from the introduction of substances into the body. [N.J.S.A. 2C:2‑8e(1)].

In considering the question of intoxication, you should carefully distinguish between the condition of mind which is merely excited by intoxicating-drink (or drugs) and yet capable of acting with (purpose or knowledge), and the condition in which ones mental faculties are so prostrated as to deprive one of (his/her) will to act and ability to reason, thereby rendering a person incapable of acting and thus preventing the person from committing the crime charged with the mental state required of either (purposely or knowingly).

This distinction is important because, as explained, whether or not the defense of intoxication applies is a factual determination to be made by you.

You may also consider, along with all the other evidence, the degree of intoxication in determining whether or not the defendant was capable of acting with (purpose or knowledge) to commit the crime charged.

You will recall that I explained to you the elements of (crime), one of those elements was that defendant had to act with (purpose or knowledge).

(DEFINE PURPOSELY OR KNOWINGLY)

If after considering all the evidence you have a reasonable doubt whether defendants intoxication was such as to render (him/her) incapable of acting (purposely or knowingly), then you must acquit (him/her) of (crime).

If, however, the State has proven to you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defense does not apply, and that the State has proven all of the elements of (crime) previously defined for you beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant guilty.



[1] NOTE: Self‑induced intoxication can only reduce murder to aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter. See N.J.S.A. 2C:11‑4b(1), State v. Stasio, 78 N.J. 467 (1979), and State v. Maik, 60 N.J. 203, 215 (1972).


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Kenneth Vercammens Law office represents individuals charged with criminal, drug offenses, and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey. Our office helps people with traffic/ municipal court tickets including drivers charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Refusal and Driving While Suspended.

Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutors Association.

Criminal and Motor vehicle violations can cost you. You will have to pay fines in court or receive points on your drivers license. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles] or have your license suspended. Dont give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal motor vehicle violations.

When your job or drivers license is in jeopardy or you are facing thousands of dollars in fines, DMV surcharges and car insurance increases, you need excellent legal representation. The least expensive attorney is not always the answer. Schedule an appointment if you need experienced legal representation in a traffic/municipal court matter.

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