Being charged with a misdemeanor crime is a serious matter, so you may be on alert for any defense that can help you out of a bad situation, such as theft charges. Washington residents accused of theft sometimes point out that they were intoxicated during the supposed theft incident. While this argument may be helpful in establishing that a person was not responsible for the theft, it can also present other legal problems.

FindLaw explains that in some cases, charges of theft can be refuted if the person charged with the crime establishes that he or she was under the influence of intoxicating substances. While intoxicated, a person’s judgment is inhibited, so it is plausible that someone was not able to deliberately intend to steal an item. The person instead may have genuinely thought that the item was a personal possession.

However, this defense does require you to provide evidence that you were intoxicated at the time, which may prove difficult if you have no way to prove you had intoxicating substances in your system during the time of the theft, or if there were no witnesses around to see that you were acting inebriated. Also, some intoxicating substances, like many drugs, are illegal. Revealing you were intoxicated can open you up to charges of illegally possessing a controlled substance.

In addition to drug possession, be aware of other crimes that could be connected to personal intoxication. A person that wanders around in public while drunk or otherwise intoxicated could be subject to a charge of public intoxication. There might also be risks of being linked to a DUI charge if someone could say you were behind the wheel of a vehicle around the time of the supposed theft.

A misdemeanor conviction can result in serious consequences. However, you want to be sure that your misdemeanor defense does not land you in greater hot water, which is why consulting with a criminal defense attorney can help you understand which defenses may be helpful and which ones might not. Keep in mind that this article does not provide you with legal counsel for any situation, only general information.