It sometimes happens that accusations of crimes happen when one or more parties are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sometimes this intoxication is voluntary (i.e., a person knowingly and deliberately consumed intoxicants) and sometimes it is involuntary (i.e., a person was given intoxicants without his or her knowledge).
Suppose, for example, a person attends a party and drinks punch that has been “spiked.” He then commits a crime at the party. When is intoxication (voluntary or involuntary) a defense to a criminal charge? What are the rules? The answers can get complicated, depending on a variety of factors. We discuss the basic outlines here.