Consciousness of Guilt: False Statements–Defense Theory Of Intoxication
May 1st, 2015

In general, voluntary intoxication may not be considered for general intent crimes. (People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal. 4th 1114, 1127-1128.)


However, voluntary intoxication may be relevant on the question of whether a defendant’s statements while intoxicated are probative of the defendant’s veracity within the meaning of CC 362. (People v. Wiidanen (2011) 201 Cal. App. 4th 526, 533.)


Wiidanen observed that “a defendant’s false or misleading statements made when he was intoxicated may not be probative of the defendant’s veracity, if the jury believed the defendant was too intoxicated to know his statements were false or misleading.” (Id. at 533.) The defense claimed that the defendant’s voluntary intoxication caused him not to have knowledge that the statements were false or misleading.


Hence, CC 362 should not be given with an unmodified version of CC 3426 because CC 3426 requires the jurors to consider voluntary intoxication regarding specific intent crimes, but voluntary intoxication is also relevant regarding whether a defendant’s statements while intoxicated are probative of his veracity. If both CC 362 and 3426 are needed in a case, judges should modify CC 3426 so that the jury can also consider voluntary intoxication regarding a defendant’s knowledge whether his or her statements were false or misleading. (People v. Wiidanen, supra, see also CC 3426 Bench Notes.)

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