The principle of intoxication outlines that when someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol when committing a crime, their level of intoxication may be so great that they cannot have the necessary men’s rea for the violent act. There are two categories of intoxication; involuntary and involuntary intoxication. Involuntary intoxication occurs when a person is unknowingly exposed to a substance that alters their state of mind. This can happen when someone is unknowingly given a drug or exposed to a toxic substance. While involuntary intoxication is not a defense to criminal charges, it can be used to mitigate sentencing. Voluntary intoxication is the consumption of alcohol or drugs to become intoxicated. While voluntary intoxication is not a crime in itself, it can lead to harmful or dangerous behaviors that can result in criminal charges. There are two types of criminal intent: general intent and specific intent. The general intent is the intention to commit a crime without any further specific intent. Specific intent involves both the intent to commit a crime and a specific goal. The paper’s deductions explain why intoxication cannot be used as a defense for a general crime but can be used for a specific intent offense.
Intoxication isn’t a defense for general intent crimes for several reasons. First, intoxication is self-induced; therefore, the defendant is assumed to be aware of the risks of becoming intoxicated (Room, 2020). Second, even if the defendant was not aware of the risks, they would still be aware of the potential consequences of their actions while intoxicated. Third, intoxication is not a complete defense because even if the defendant was so intoxicated that they did not know what they were doing, they could still be held criminally liable if their actions resulted in another person’s death or severe injury.
When a person is intoxicated, they may not be able to form the specific intent required for a crime. This is because intoxication can impair a person’s ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. Due to this, it’s possible that individuals can’t premeditate, plan, or act with the necessary amount of intent (Clough, 2019). There are a few reasons why intoxication can be a defense to a specific intent crime. First, intoxication can cause a person to be unable to form the specific intent required for the crime. For instance, if an individual is so intoxicated that they or cannot understand what they are doing, they may not be able to form the intent to commit a crime. Second, intoxication can also make it difficult for a person to control their actions. This means that even if a person intends to commit a crime, they may not be able to carry out the act due to their intoxication. Finally, intoxication can make it difficult for a person to remember what they have done. This means that a person may not be able to recall the specific details of the crime, making it difficult to prove that they committed the crime with the required intent.
In conclusion, intoxication isn’t a defense for general intent crimes because an intoxicated individual is aware of the risk of becoming intoxicated and the potential consequences of their actions while intoxicated; thus, the individuals will be held liable for their actions, especially when the crimes results into a person dies. However, intoxication can be a defense to a specific intent crime when the person is unable to form the specific intent required for the crime. Lastly, when an individual cannot remember their intoxicated actions, it makes it difficult to prove the individual committed the crime with the required intent.
Clough, A. (2019). Finding the Balance: Intoxication and Consent. Liverpool Law Review, 40(1), 49–64.
Room, R. (2020). Societal Responses to Intoxication. Cultures of Intoxication, 285–309.