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voluntary and involuntary intoxication

Asked by angel eyes | May 10, 2003 | A Level > Law > Revision
angel eyes
angel eyes asks:

what is the difference between voluntary and involuntary intoxication and when can a defendant rely on the defences?

etutor answers:
Voluntary intoxication occurs where the defendant takes alocohol or drugs voluntarily.It is only allowed as a defence in a limited number of circumstances i.e.where it means that the defendant lacked the mens rea for the offence. The courts distinguish between crimes of basic intent and crimes of specific intent - intoxication will usually be a defence to crimes of specific intent where the defendant lacked mens rea, but not to crimes of basic intent.See DPP v. Majewski 1977.
Involuntary intoxication is where the defendant took drink or drugs without meaning to, e.g. a third party laced the defendant's drink with alcohol. In this case, intoxication can be a defence to any crime, if the defendant lacked the mens rea.However in Kingston involuntary intoxication did not amount to a defence, because the defendnat admitted that he had mens rea at the time of committing the offence. See also Lipman 1970; Hardie 1985.

1 student responses

nazmina
nazmina
Voluntary intoxication is where the defendent voluntariliy toxicated himself by drinks or drugs while involuntary intoxication is where he involuntarily took drinks or drugs. These would be in cases of perscribed drugs (by doctors usually), laces drinks and sorporfic drinks. The defendent can only rely on voluntary intoxication if the offence committed was one of specific intent crimes(murder, Woundind or inflicting GBH with intent, theft, aggravated criminal damage) whie for involuntary both specific intent crimes and basic intent crimes (involuntary manslaughter, criminal damage, maliciously wounding or inflicting GBH, Rape, common assault, assault occassioning to actual body harm) the defence can be used.
responded May 27, 2004 7:43:29 PM BST
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angela
angela
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