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Nate, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 10686
Experience:  Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
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I am a 40 year-old physician, and I was arrested 5/13 for assault.

Customer Question

I am a 40 year-old physician, and I was arrested 5/13 for assault. The truth is that I tool some Xanax on a plane from Florida, landed in Denver, and drove home with my family. I took 3 mg of Xanax, which is more than I have taken. I have some PTSD from my military days with flying. We drove home, and stopped for lunch. Apparently, my wife and I got in an argument, and I became angry and smashed her cell phone, broke the car windshield, and tried to grab her purse. I was arrested for assault (no harm done though), harassment, child abuse (in front of my kids), and criminal mischief. I have a lawyer with a non-guilty plea. There is a witness who saw me go for the purse so harassment will likely stick. I have a pre-trial conference today, and Oct 1 will be jury trial. I have never been like this, and have no recollection of the events that occurred. I have a letter from my prescribing physician that bizarre behavior, amnesia, and mental status changes can occur, and they certainly did. Do you think that this is a plausible defense with mens rea?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Nate replied 4 years ago.
My name is Nate. I have been a licensed attorney for over ten years and will be assisting you today.

Legally, that would not be a defense. That would only be a defense if you were involuntarily intoxicated. As you have described here, you took the additional dosage of Xanax yourself and obviously the consequences (losing control, memory, etc.) would have been foreseeable.

That said, it doesn't mean a jury won't return a not guilty verdict. Juries are not known for always following the law. If I were your defense lawyer, I would focus on your military background, your PTSD diagnosis from your prior service and your history of loving and providing for your family.

It is very common that most juries wants to do what they think is right and fair. That does not necessarily always include following the law.

If you have more questions please feel free to ask. I'll be happy to answer them. If you do not, please do remember to rate my service in assistance to you today.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I took it as directed though. 3 mg is within dosing parameters. Thank you. I just don't ever take it.

Expert:  Nate replied 4 years ago.
That's another part of your defense. If you can show you never intended or most importantly, could not have foreseen the consequences, that can be used by your attorney and he can likely get a special jury instruction to that effect from the court.