The statutory definition of intoxication under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:2-8(e)(1) is a disturbance of mental or physical capacities resulting from the introduction of substances into the body. In order to satisfy the statutory condition that to qualify as a defense intoxication must negate an element of the offense, the intoxication must be of an extremely high level.
The group of men were playing cards when a drunk lady approached and disrupted the game with her conduct. The participants moved their card table to a new location within the lot and the rowdy lady followed them and overturned the table. The table was righted and the game resumed. Shortly thereafter, the lady attacked one of the players with a broken bottle. As a result of that attack, he sustained an injury to his hand, which necessitated 36 stitches and caused permanent injury. When the police arrived, the lady threw a bottle at their vehicle, shouted obscenities, and tried to fight them off. She had to be restrained and handcuffed in the police wagon. She was indicted for second-degree aggravated assault, possession of a weapon with a purpose to use it unlawfully, and fourth-degree resisting arrest. The trial court convicted the defendant, and did not allow her raise a voluntary intoxication defense.
On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court's conviction of defendant, claiming voluntary intoxication was a defense that should have been allowed, because it negated the essential element of purposeful conduct. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Did the trial court err by not giving an intoxication charge?
The court determined that the trial court correctly refused defendant's request, since the evidence was insufficient to justify submission of the intoxication issue to the jury. The judgment of the appellate court was based solely upon an erroneous view of the law and other assignments of error were not considered; therefore, the cause was remanded to that court with directions to consider and pass upon such other questions.