Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

In the criminal law context, intoxication refers to a state of impairment caused by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, which can affect a person’s ability to form the required intent or mens rea for committing a crime.

To be convicted, a person must have the required intent to commit a crime. Intoxication may impair a person’s ability to form the necessary intent or knowledge to commit a crime, which can be a defense against criminal liability.

However, the defense of intoxication may not be available in all cases. In some jurisdictions, the defense of voluntary intoxication is limited or unavailable for certain crimes, such as crimes of strict liability or crimes requiring only general intent. In some cases, a defendant’s voluntary intoxication may be considered evidence of their intent or knowledge and may be used against them in criminal prosecution.

Involuntary intoxication, which occurs when a person is intoxicated without their knowledge or consent, may also be a defense against criminal liability in some jurisdictions, depending on the circumstances of the case. However, involuntary intoxication is generally a more limited defense than voluntary intoxication and is not available in all cases.

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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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