2020 Tennessee Code
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 11 - General Provisions
Part 5 - General Defenses
§ 39-11-503. Intoxication

Universal Citation: TN Code § 39-11-503 (2020)
  1. Except as provided in subsection (c), intoxication itself is not a defense to prosecution for an offense. However, intoxication, whether voluntary or involuntary, is admissible in evidence, if it is relevant to negate a culpable mental state.
  2. If recklessness establishes an element of an offense and the person is unaware of a risk because of voluntary intoxication, the person's unawareness is immaterial in a prosecution for that offense.
  3. Intoxication itself does not constitute a mental disease or defect within the meaning of § 39-11-501. However, involuntary intoxication is a defense to prosecution, if, as a result of the involuntary intoxication, the person lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of the person's conduct or to conform that conduct to the requirements of the law allegedly violated.
  4. The following definitions apply in this part, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
    1. “Intoxication” means disturbance of mental or physical capacity resulting from the introduction of any substance into the body;
    2. “Involuntary intoxication” means intoxication that is not voluntary; and
    3. “Voluntary intoxication” means intoxication caused by a substance that the person knowingly introduced into the person's body, the tendency of which to cause intoxication was known or ought to have been known.
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