CACI 404 Intoxication

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

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.

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)