CACI No. 404. Intoxication

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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404.Intoxication
A person is not necessarily negligent just because that person used
alcohol [or drugs]. However, people who drink alcohol [or take drugs]
must act just as carefully as those who do not.
New September 2003; Revised May 2020
Directions for Use
This instruction should be given only if there is evidence of alcohol or drug
consumption. This instruction is not intended for situations in which intoxication is
grounds for a negligence per se instruction (e.g., driving under the influence).
Sources and Authority
• Mere consumption of alcohol is not negligence in and of itself: “The fact that a
person when injured was intoxicated is not in itself evidence of contributory
negligence, but it is a circumstance to be considered in determining whether his
intoxication contributed to his injury.” (Coakley v. Ajuria (1930) 209 Cal. 745,
752 [290 P. 33].)
• Intoxication is not generally an excuse for failure to comply with the reasonable-
person standard. (Cloud v. Market Street Railway Co. (1946) 74 Cal.App.2d 92,
97 [168 P.2d 191].)
• Intoxication is not negligence as a matter of law, but it is a circumstance for the
jury to consider in determining whether such intoxication was a contributing
cause of an injury and is also a question of fact for the jury. (Pittman v. Boiven
(1967) 249 Cal.App.2d 207, 217 [57 Cal.Rptr. 319]; Barr v. Scott (1955) 134
Cal.App.2d 823, 827-828 [286 P.2d 552]; see also Emery v. Los Angeles Ry.
Corp. (1943) 61 Cal.App.2d 455, 461 [143 P.2d 112].)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, § 1477
2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 20, Motor Vehicles, §§ 20.02, 20.04 (Matthew
Bender)
33 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 380, Negligence (Matthew
Bender)
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