What is the duty of a defendant to request an instruction that relates the evidence of his intoxication to an element of the crime?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Neasman, 13 Cal.App.4th 1779, 17 Cal.Rptr.2d 452 (Cal. App. 1993):

"In our view, under the law relating to mental capacity as it exists today, it makes more sense to place on the defendant the duty to request an instruction which relates the evidence of his intoxication to an element of a crime, such as premeditation and deliberation. This is so because the defendant's evidence of intoxication can no longer be proffered as a defense to a crime but rather is proffered in an attempt to raise a doubt on an element of a crime which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In such a case the defendant is attempting to relate his evidence of intoxication to an element of the crime. Accordingly, he may seek a 'pinpoint' instruction that must be requested by him [citation], but such a pinpoint instruction does not involve a 'general principle of law' as that term is used in the cases that have imposed a sua sponte duty of instruction on the trial court." (People v. Saille, supra, 54 Cal.3d 1103, 1120, 2 Cal.Rptr.2d 364, 820 P.2d 588.)

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