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Old January 20, 2010, 09:56 PM   #1
chexmix
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Home defence and being drunk

Say you use you gun for home defense while you are drunk. If you weren't drunk everything would be legal and clear cut self defense. Could the fact that you were drunk cause serious legal problems?
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Old January 20, 2010, 09:59 PM   #2
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Yes. And most likely a visit to your state correctional facility.
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Old January 20, 2010, 10:02 PM   #3
chexmix
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I don't like the fact that just because I had a few drinks at home I cant defend myself.
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Old January 20, 2010, 10:07 PM   #4
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An easy solution. Don't get drunk.. it doesn't make you smarter, happier in the long run or save you money . Loaded guns + alcohol don't mix.

I suspect the DA would heavily use that against you even if your drunken shoot was justified.
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Old January 20, 2010, 10:14 PM   #5
chexmix
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I would never carry around the house if I was drinking, my gun would be locked up so its almost a non-issue. Its kind of a what if question. I rarely get drunk but i have a few drinks a week(I might be an alcoholic by clinical terms) but rarely more than two in a night.
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Old January 20, 2010, 10:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Say you use you gun for home defense while you are drunk. If you weren't drunk everything would be legal and clear cut self defense.
Why would it be that being sober would make the shooting legal, but being drunk would not? I don't know of a single law that stipulates self defense is only valid when sober.

Quote:
Could the fact that you were drunk cause serious legal problems?
Could it cause problems? Potentially. First and foremost, you may be inclined to speak to the police at a time when most lawyers would strongly suggest you not speak with the police without having a lawyer present.

Second, if you do speak to the police and cannot articulate the events that occurred that would justify your shooting, then the police aren't likely to buy your story.
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Old January 20, 2010, 10:30 PM   #7
LukeA
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It's like using a "tactical" gun. It may or may not matter to the DA and jury, but if it does matter you aren't doing yourself any favors.
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:04 PM   #8
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It might look bad, but IMO only, if its a good shoot, its a good shoot.
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:31 PM   #9
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...and the alternative is, let the BG(s) kill you!
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Old January 21, 2010, 12:42 AM   #10
Frank Ettin
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Indeed there's no law against being drunk in your own home, and there's no law against defending yourself when you're drunk. And if it's a very clear case of a justified shooting, or if you have a strong Castle Doctrine in your state and the circumstances bring the event under its protection, there shouldn't be much problem. BUT, if things aren't clear cut in you favor, your intoxication could very well become a factor.

If you are claiming self defense, you will effectively be admitting that you (1) shot the guy; and (2) you intended to do it.These are the basic elements of a crime (either manslaughter or aggravated assault, depending on whether the a guy you shot dies or lives). Your defense is that shooting him met the legal standard for justification.

It will be your burden to at least put forward evidence establishing, prima facie, justification. In general (without consideration of Castles Doctrines) you would be justified in using lethal force only if a reasonable and prudent person would have concluded that under like circumstances lethal force was necessary to prevent the immediate death or grave bodily injury to an innocent. In some states this standard is relaxed in your home or on your property.

But a claim of justification is going to call your judgment into question, and alcohol impairs judgment. So if there are reasons why your particular defensive gun use is not clear cut, your intoxication makes you vulnerable to the argument that you could not, and did not, exercise appropriate judgment in connection with your use of lethal force.

So pretty much the bottom line is that your being intoxicated may or may not hurt you depending on how things happened, and depending on just how drunk you are. A BAC of 0.05 is sure going to be easier for you to deal with than a BAC or 0.15. And even if it might not hurt you, it sure isn't going to help.

For myself, I like my wine with dinner and my whiskey afterward or a cocktail from time to time, but I limit myself, just because I feel better that way.

Another thing to consider is that aside from the legal issue, if you're significantly drunk, you may not be able to deal effectively with an emergency.

You may want to have a look at this post by Antipitas: http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...&postcount=109. The question in that thread involved the use of handloads for self defense. Antipitas did some research in Idaho and discovered there were 12 claimed defensive shooting using handloads in the period 1970 to 2007. But of course the handload question doesn't concern us here.

What's interesting in the context of this discussion is that of the 12 claimed defensive shootings, six were accepted as self defense and went no further. Charges were brought in the other six, resulting in six convictions. Four defendants pleaded out, and two went to trial and lost. In all of those six, drugs or alcohol was involved.

True, it's not a big enough sample to really prove anything. But it is interesting.
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Old January 21, 2010, 01:22 AM   #11
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Eh- I frequently drink while handling guns at home. Big deal. I'd still use lethal force against an intruder. I'd say the same thing to the cops whether I was sober or drunk.

"Officer, that man broke into my home and I was in fear of immiment seriously bodily injury or death, so I shot him to stop the threat. I want to press charges against him. I wish to not make any more statements until after speaking with my attorney."

Don't consent to a breathalizer. It'll take a long time to get a court ordered blood draw. Possibly hours.

Of course I live in pro-gun free states. YMMV in anti-gun states.

As always, caveat emptor!
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Old January 21, 2010, 01:35 AM   #12
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I've thought about this.

My thoughts on the issue is to never be drunk. Not saying I don't drink, I enjoy a Jack & Coke, or a "Good" Beer (non-american, microbrew, or preferably both)

But I rarely drink even two nights in the same week, and can count the times I've had more than one drink in a day on one hand.

I don't believe guns and alcohol mix, well, I've been know to grab a bottle of Old Engine Oil, Wychcraft, or Old Speckled Hen when I'm cleaning them after a trip to the range. (no ammo)
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Old January 21, 2010, 07:18 AM   #13
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Nothing wrong with drinking, in my opinion...

but there is a big difference between having a drink or two and being drunk... and yes, sometimes you might just have a need to get good and drunk... I've done it more than once....

with that said... no different than driving... if you are 'drunk' you don't need to be anywhere near a gun... period.

At the very least, if a bad thing happens it is going to put a whole different perspective and possible problem slant to the outcome.

the problem in my experience is a lot of folks who drink a little too much just can't figure out when they are impaired.
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Old January 21, 2010, 07:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
...and the alternative is, let the BG(s) kill you!
This is a very good point... better to serve 5 yrs for a weapons violation than forever dead. That old saying goes: better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6...
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Old January 21, 2010, 09:25 AM   #15
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OK, folks, I just cut out a couple of messages here that were bordering on illegal, illegal as hell, or both. I also capped a couple that were just plain BAD suggestions.

If your post disappeared, don't even bother asking why.

Post another "suggestion" of a blatantly illegal nature like that again and you may find that you can no longer post here.

Get my drift?
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:02 AM   #16
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I'd think that the circumstances of the assailant would matter more than yours. For example, if the BG is in YOUR home without permission and doing threatening things, I can't imagine that a jury would find your state a major issue. A really overzealous prosecutor could try to spin it in a way to make it seem like you couldn't have been in any condition to know what was going on, but that would be more of a manslaughter charge and a good defense attorney could put that one away easily.

Really, though, I think this is a lot of speculation without legal opinion. If you regularly drink to drunkenness and you worry about this, consult a lawyer and maybe invest in better doors and locks.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:33 AM   #17
Brian Pfleuger
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Being drunk can get you in all kinds of trouble...

BUT! it can be beneficial to you because.... uh, I, uh, well...... because....



Well, it can't. Staying sober solves all the problems, and creates none.
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Old January 21, 2010, 12:22 PM   #18
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If you're drunk, all else being equal, even if it was a justified case of self-defense, I can't imagine you being able to convince anyone of that fact.
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Old January 21, 2010, 12:44 PM   #19
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Be thou not drunk with wine but be instead filled with the holy spirit.
http://www.whiskymag.com/whisky/bran...hisky1392.html

fiddletown pretty much says it all. If you're drunk it compromises your testimony as a witness. While you may be innocent as a lamb, if your evidence is not seen as trustworthy, you just might become a suspect.

There is also the real possibility that you might say something real stupid to the authorities when they arrive.
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Old January 21, 2010, 03:32 PM   #20
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I agree with the people that differetiate between drinking, and drunk. I frequently will have a glass of wine or a beer at home. That is not enough to impair me and I wouldn't consider myself drunk. Very rarely I might have 2-3 drinks in a night, and would consider myself to be slightly impaired or "drunk". I don't see a problem with handling a firearm after drinking if not impaired, but I agree that handling a firearm while impaired is a horrible idea in most cases.

Note I said in *most cases*. I *generally* will not handle a firearm while impaired. In a life or death situation I would not let a buzz from a few beers keep me from defending myself and my family though. I honestly don't know what the legal ramifications would be if I had to defend myself while under the influence, but given the laws about self defense in my state don't mention it, I don't see it being a problem.
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Old January 21, 2010, 04:05 PM   #21
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It is fascinating to me, the length that we will go through to justify doing what we want to do.

Soooo many people insist on carrying a BUG, spare mags or both based on the miniscule chance that this fails or that jams or there's 2 BGs and their hommies show up....

but the possibilities that having consumed alcohol will have a detrimental effect on you in a SD situation, whether it be through impaired reactions, impaired judgement or implications brought up by a potential prosecutor are routinely minimized or explained away.

Spare mags, BUGS, Tazers and pepper spray because, hey, you never know.

I'll let myself have a few though because, hey, what are the odds?

It's nonsensical.
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Old January 21, 2010, 04:26 PM   #22
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OK. Time for a little data.

I'm sure you are all aware that guns are sacrosanct in the State of Idaho, yes?

In one of the 2 cases that I have the data on, the defendant claimed self-defense in the home. At the scene, an officer noticed an empty beer can on his coffee table and asked the defendant to blow in the tube. He blew .04. He claims that he only had 2 beers in a roughly 3 hour period.

At the trial, the prosecutor slammed him with the fact that in three hours, there was no way his BA would go as high as .04. The prosecutor also claimed that because of the alcohol consumption, his judgment could not be trusted. He was impaired and regardless of anything else, had he been sober, what happened would have turned out different.

The jury hung him out to dry (pun intended). Voluntary Manslaughter - 5 to 15 years.
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Old January 21, 2010, 04:29 PM   #23
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Home Defense and Booze

Haven't had any booze of any kind in 34 years.

I didn't always get into trouble when I drank.

But when I got into trouble booz was right there.

Lesson learned.

No one's saying 'don't drink'. But stop and think about impairment and the legal cost of getting out of a jackpot that's self-inflicted.

Zip
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Old January 21, 2010, 04:34 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technosavant
If you regularly drink to drunkenness and you worry about this, consult a lawyer and maybe invest in better doors and locks.
If you regularly drink to drunkenness, this should be the least of your worries...
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Old January 21, 2010, 04:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atroxus
...That is not enough to impair me and I wouldn't consider myself drunk....
Remember that it doesn't matter whether you would consider yourself impaired. What matters is whether the DA thinks the jury would consider you to be impaired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antipitas
...The prosecutor also claimed that because of the alcohol consumption, his judgment could not be trusted. He was impaired and regardless of anything else, had he been sober, what happened would have turned out different.

The jury hung him out to dry (pun intended). Voluntary Manslaughter - 5 to 15 years....
An excellent example of "it's what the jury thinks that counts."
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