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Voluntary Intoxication

Approximately 60–80% of persons arrested for a crime in the United States test positive for illicit drugs or alcohol shortly after arrest and more than 40% report having been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their offense. Courts and forensic experts are frequently called upon to consider whether intoxication at the time of an offense might lessen or increase a defendant’s criminal culpability and whether the person would be amenable to substance use disorder treatment in lieu of a more punitive sentence. Resolving these matters depends largely on whether the defendant became intoxicated voluntarily, whether the degree of intoxication was foreseeable, and whether the individual has a clinically significant substance use disorder or associated mental health disorder that requires treatment.

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