Atlanta, GA asked in Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Georgia

Q: In Georgia, can you discharge a firearm while intoxicated if it comes to the point that you feel the need to use a gun?

I know it is illegal to discharge a firearm while intoxicated over a 0.08 but what if I am drunker than a 0.08 but I’m threatened enough to use it? This happened last weekend leaving a bar and a guy pulled a gun and pushed the barrel into a friends chest while I was behind him. I was carrying but did not want to go to prison

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1 Lawyer Answer
Zachary Taylor Beck
Zachary Taylor Beck
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rome, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: The short answer is yes. In Georgia, whether intoxicated or not, a person has the right to defend themselves against the infliction of death or serious bodily harm. However, to justify the use of deadly force (i.e., shooting the firearm), the person must not be the aggressor and must actually be faced with deadly force themselves. This is an objective standard, meaning even if in your drunk mind you thought your life was in peril, but the actual facts show otherwise, a jury would likely find the hypothetical shooting of the firearm unjustified and you could face serious criminal liability.

Moral of the story, mixing alcohol consumption and firearms is unwise.

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