Involuntary Intoxication

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

In the criminal law context, involuntary intoxication is when a person becomes intoxicated without their knowledge or consent, typically due to being given a drug or substance without their knowledge or through some form of coercion.

Involuntary intoxication may occur in various circumstances, such as when a person is given a drug without their knowledge or consent, is forced to consume a substance against their will, or is given a medication that produces unintended side effects.

As a legal defense, involuntary intoxication may be used to argue that a defendant lacked the required intent or mens rea to commit a crime due to their involuntary intoxication. This defense is generally considered more limited than the defense of voluntary intoxication. It is typically only available in cases where the defendant’s intoxication was truly involuntary and occurred without their knowledge or consent.

However, the availability of the defense of involuntary intoxication may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the case. Some jurisdictions may not recognize involuntary intoxication as a defense. In contrast, others may require the defendant to prove that their intoxication was truly involuntary and not the result of their negligence or recklessness.

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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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