CALCRIM No. 3427. Involuntary Intoxication
Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2023 edition)Download PDF
Consider any evidence that the defendant was involuntarily intoxicated
in deciding whether the defendant had the required (intent/ [or] mental
state) when (he/she) acted.
A person is involuntarily intoxicated if he or she unknowingly ingested
some intoxicating liquor, drug, or other substance, or if his or her
intoxication is caused by the (force/[, [or] duress/, [or] fraud/, [or]
trickery of someone else), for whatever purpose[, without any fault on
the part of the intoxicated person].
New January 2006; Revised August 2013
It appears that the court has no sua sponte duty to instruct on involuntary
intoxication, unless the intoxication results in unconsciousness. (See People v. Saille
(1991) 54 Cal.3d 1103, 1119 [2 Cal.Rptr.2d 364, 820 P.2d 588] [no sua sponte duty
when evidence of voluntary intoxication presented to negate element of offense].) If
the defendant is relying on the defense of unconsciousness caused by involuntary
intoxication, see CALCRIM No. 3425, Unconsciousness.
In the definition of “involuntarily intoxicated,” the phrase “without any fault on the
part of the intoxicated person” is taken from People v. Velez (1985) 175 Cal.App.3d
785, 796 [221 Cal.Rptr. 631]. It is unclear when this concept of “fault” would apply
if the person has no knowledge of the presence of the intoxicating substance. The
committee has included the language in brackets for the court to use at its
If the defendant claims unconsciousness due to involuntary intoxication as a defense
to driving under the influence, see People v. Mathson (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 1297,
1317-1323 [149 Cal.Rptr.3d 167].
See CALCRIM No. 3426, Voluntary Intoxication.
• Instructional Requirements. See Pen. Code, § 26(3).
• Burden of Proof. See People v. Saille (1991) 54 Cal.3d 1103, 1106 [2
Cal.Rptr.2d 364, 820 P.2d 588] [in context of voluntary intoxication].
• Involuntary Intoxication Defined. People v. Velez (1985) 175 Cal.App.3d 785,
796 [221 Cal.Rptr. 631].
One court has held that a mistake of fact defense (see Pen. Code, § 26(3)) can be
based on involuntary intoxication. (People v. Scott (1983) 146 Cal.App.3d 823,
831-832 [194 Cal.Rptr. 633].) For further discussion, see CALCRIM No. 3406,
Mistake of Fact.
Unconsciousness Based on Voluntary Intoxication Is Not a Complete Defense
Unconsciousness is typically a complete defense to a crime except when it is caused
by voluntary intoxication. (People v. Heffıngton (1973) 32 Cal.App.3d 1, 8 [107
Cal.Rptr. 859].) Unconsciousness caused by voluntary intoxication is governed by
former Penal Code section 22 [now Penal Code section 29.4], rather than by section
26, and is only a partial defense to a crime. (People v. Walker (1993) 14
Cal.App.4th 1615, 1621 [18 Cal.Rptr.2d 431] [no error in refusing to instruct on
unconsciousness when defendant was voluntarily under the influence of drugs at the
time of the crime].)
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Defenses, §§ 32-39.
3 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 73,
Defenses and Justifications, §§ 73.01, 73.04 (Matthew Bender).
DEFENSES AND INSANITY CALCRIM No. 3427