Involuntary Intoxication Defense Case In Texas
In Torres v. State, 585 S.W.2d 746, 749-50 (Tex.Crim.App.1979), an aggravated robbery case, Torres's accomplice testified that he had put Thorazine tablets into her glass of Alka Seltzer without her knowledge about an hour before they broke into the victim's home. Id. at 748.
The trial judge refused Torres's requested charge directing the jury to acquit her if they found that she was involuntarily intoxicated and further found that she did not act voluntarily in the commission of the offense because of the intoxication. Id.
In its decision to reverse and remand Torres's conviction on the basis of jury charge error, the Court of Criminal Appeals recognized the defense of involuntary intoxication. Id. at 749.
It reasoned that, even though the common law disfavored intoxication as a defense to avoid criminal responsibility because a voluntary act rendered an individual of unsound mind, the reason for disfavor did not exist when the intoxication was not self-induced. Torres, 585 S.W.2d at 748-49.
Further, at the time Torres was decided, section 8.01 of the Penal Code relieved a person of criminal culpability if, as the result of a mental disease or defect, he "did not know that his conduct was wrong or was incapable of conforming his conduct to the requirements of the law." Id. at 749.
We note that the current version of section 8.01 omits the last phrase, "or was incapable of conforming his conduct to the requirements of the law."
The Court then held that involuntary intoxication is a defense to criminal culpability when it is shown that:
(1) the accused has exercised no independent judgment or volition in taking the intoxicant and (2) as a result of his intoxication, the accused did not know that his conduct was wrong or was incapable of conforming his conduct to the requirements of the law he allegedly violated. Id. at 749.
The Court found that Torres was entitled to have the issue of involuntary intoxication submitted to the jury because there was evidence that she did not know that an intoxicant had been included in the preparation she drank. Id.