How can intoxication cause theft to occur?
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How can intoxication cause theft to occur?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2022 | Theft |

Enjoying a few drinks at a Louisiana bar or restaurant should not be a problem for you, but consuming too much alcohol might cause you some trouble, and not just because you could drive drunk. You might engage in embarrassing behavior because of the intoxication. Worse, you could unknowingly violate the law, perhaps by stealing something from a store.

The crime of theft does not only involve the act itself. A person must intend to take something that belongs to another person. FindLaw explains how intoxication may contribute to theft and why it could act as a defense against theft charges.

How intoxication may cause unintentional theft

Being under the influence of alcohol can impair your judgment and make you act in a risky manner. It can also slow down your reaction time and cause confusion. All of these factors could lead you to take something that you honestly thought was yours at the time. Had you been sober, you would not have removed the item in question.

The general argument is that being in an intoxicated state means you could not have formed the purposeful intent to steal or you were not sober enough to discern an item that was not yours. However, you will have to prove that you were under alcoholic influence at the time of the supposed theft.

The possible downside of claiming intoxication

While arguing that you had a few drinks before committing the theft might result in a dismissal of the theft charges, it does come with some risk. Admitting to being drunk while out in a public location could make it appear that you are confessing to public intoxication, which is also a criminal offense.

The problem of public intoxication charges shows how complex a theft case can be. Depending on your circumstances, there may be other defense arguments available to you.