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The Voluntary Intoxication Defense in Florida

As you might have guessed, voluntary intoxication is not a defense to DUI. In State v. McNally, 336 So.2d 713 (Fla. 2d DCA 1976), the court held that it is not a defense to DUI to allege that intoxication was involuntary based on the defendant's alcoholism.

Not only have the courts made this ruling, but the Florida legislature has also done away with the common law defense for voluntary intoxication entirely for all criminal offenses. See Florida Statute 775.051.

Florida's first district court of appeals has recognized the right to present an insanity defense in a DUI Property Damage and DUI Manslaughter case. See Tollefson v. State, 525 So.2d 957 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988).

Similarly, in a Michigan case, the appellate court recognized the insanity defense in a misdemeanor DUI cases based on brain damage caused by a head injury combined with the long-term effects of alcohol abuse.) See People v. Chapman, 165 Mich. App. 215, 418 N.W.2d 658 (1987).

The Florida legislature under Florida Statute 775.051 has severely limited the availability of any evidence of voluntary intoxication to show insanity at the time of the offense to those circumstances in which the voluntary intoxication was caused by lawfully prescribed drugs controlled under Chapter 893.

Contact a Tampa DUI Defense Attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss defenses that might be available under the particular facts and circumstances of your drunk driving case.


This article was last updated on Thursday, January 4, 2018.