Intoxication

The law on intoxication applies not just to drinks but also to drugs and solvents.

It may be possible for intoxication to be used as a defence in a criminal case where the defendant is not capable of forming the necessary intent to perform the crime due to the effect of drink, drugs or solvents.

The defendant may be able to use the defence of intoxication for a crime of specific intent if he was so drunk that he was no longer capable of forming the necessary intention to commit the crime.  However, if he had intended to commit the crime he is unable to use the defence of intoxication even if it was involuntary intoxication.

The level of intention required must be considered, that is to say, is it a crime of specific intent or basic intent? The other consideration must be whether the defendant became drunk voluntarily or not.

If a defendant has decided to murder someone but drinks alcohol to give him the 'courage' to commit the crime he would be considered guilty as he had the intention to commit the crime, and could not use the defence of intoxication.

Intoxication can not be used as a defence for basic intent crimes if the defendant has voluntarily used drugs or got drunk. This is the case as basic intent crimes only require proof of recklessness and it is considered that the use of drugs or getting drunk is reckless (DPP v Majewski (1976)).

If a defendant takes medication legally without realising their intoxicating effect or if they became intoxicated involuntarily the defence of intoxication could be used even for basic intent crimes as he has not been reckless.

Discuss the nature of the defence of intoxication

Intoxication - The General Rule - YouTube

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