definition of Wikipedia
|Part of the common law series|
|Other common law areas|
General intent crimes do not require an intent to break the law, just an unlawful act ("actus reus") and an intent to act in such a fashion. Specific intent crimes, however, require a certain mental state ("mens rea") to break the law. One such offense, for example, is residential burglary. Residential burglary requires not only an unlawful entry into an inhabited dwelling, but the specific intent to commit some felony therein. When it comes to intoxication defenses in criminal law, even "voluntary intoxication" (the knowing and voluntary consumption of alcohol or drugs) is a defense to a "specific intent" crime, whereas only "involuntary intoxication" ("My drink was spiked!") is a defense to a general intent crime. As for punishment, intoxication may be a mitigating factor that decreases a prison or jail sentence.
Societies have tended to have an ambivalent attitude toward public intoxication. In some eras, alcohol consumption or drug-taking have formed the basis of religious or other socially approved ceremonies and festivals. In other eras of a more puritanical nature, intoxication has been stigmatized as a sign of human weakness, of immorality, or as a sin. This lack of consistency reflects different attitudes and cultural standards of public behavior and propriety. Alcohol and drugs may affect the inhibitions that help to keep socialized individuals from breaking the prevailing social taboos which may or may not have been expressly criminalized. In more modern times and depending on the nature of the crime, the potential effectiveness of the defense will sometimes hinge on whether the defendant's intoxication was voluntary or involuntary. Hence, the potential defense would be denied defendants who had voluntarily disabled themselves by knowingly consuming the relevant liquids or substances, while allowing a defense to those who had unknowingly consumed them.
There is a certain raw sense in this distinction. As an example, in the so-called Dutch courage defense the accused hates his spouse but fears to take action. The accused therefore buys a bottle of the best brandy and a sharp knife. In the morning, the bottle is empty and the knife is in the spouse's heart. Because the accused had a plan and weakening the inhibitions by drunkenness was a part of that plan, an intoxication defense is not feasible. But if, at a party, a bowl of fruit punch is "spiked" by someone who secretly adds gin, the resulting drunkenness is not voluntary and might be considered a possible defense.
The presence or absence of liability may be said to hang on a foreseeability test. The fact that the consumption of alcohol or the ingestion of drugs may cause a loss of control is well-known. Thus, anyone who knowingly consumes is, at the very least, reckless as to the possibility of losing control. If they did not wish to lose control, they would not consume, so loss of control must be within the scope of their intention by continuing to consume. But, loss of control is not instantaneous and without symptoms. The issue of involuntary consumption is therefore contentious. In most legal systems, involuntary loss of control is limited to cases where there is no real loss of control with noticeable symptoms. Thus, for example, in many states, the blood alcohol level for the commission of the offence of driving under the influence is set sufficiently low that people might exceed the limit without realising that they had consumed enough alcohol to do so. Leaving aside the issue that, in some states, this is a strict liability offense excluding drunkenness as a defense, there is usually a requirement that the person who "spiked" the drinks be prosecuted in place of the driver. This reflects the fact that the commission of a crime has been procured by the actions of secretly adding the alcohol and the practical fact that without this rule, too many accused who are only marginally over the limit, might be encouraged to blame others for their intoxication. More generally, the defense would be denied to people experiencing symptoms of intoxication who continued to consume the spiked drink because they ought to have known what was happening to them. Equally, if no further consumption occurred but they ought to have recognized that they were affected by an unknown substance, beginning an activity such as driving would not fall within the defense. In other words, the policy underpinning the operation of the law favors the protection of the public as against the interests of an individual who recklessly or with wilful blindness exposes the public to danger.
In some states, a distinction is based on the nature of the mens rea requirement. While voluntary intoxication may not be a defense to an offense of basic (sometimes termed "general") intent, it is allowed as a defense to offenses requiring a specific intent. This term refers to two separate types of offense:
If a "specific intent" in either sense is required and there is clear evidence that the accused was too intoxicated to form the element subjectively, this fact is recognised as a defense unless the loss of control was part of the plan. But this is of little value to defendants since there are almost always offenses of basic intent that can be charged and/or the basic intent offenses are usually lesser included offenses and an alternative verdict can be delivered by judge or jury without the need for a separate charge. In English law, note the controversial Jaggard v Dickinson  3 All ER 716 which held that, for the purposes of the statutory defense of lawful excuse under s5 Criminal Damage Act 1971, a drunken belief will found the defense even though this allows drunkenness to negate basic intent. This is limited authority and does not affect the generality of the defense.
Examples of specific intent crimes include first degree murder based on premeditation and deliberation, attempts, burglary (intent to commit larceny), larceny (intent to steal), possession of or receiving stolen property (intent to steal), and robbery (intent to steal). General intent crimes include arson, rape, common law murder, and voluntary manslaughter.
Dictionary and translator for handheld
New : sensagent is now available on your handheld
A windows (pop-into) of information (full-content of Sensagent) triggered by double-clicking any word on your webpage. Give contextual explanation and translation from your sites !
With a SensagentBox, visitors to your site can access reliable information on over 5 million pages provided by Sensagent.com. Choose the design that fits your site.
Improve your site content
Add new content to your site from Sensagent by XML.
Crawl products or adds
Get XML access to reach the best products.
Index images and define metadata
Get XML access to fix the meaning of your metadata.
Please, email us to describe your idea.
Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !
Change the target language to find translations.
Tips: browse the semantic fields (see From ideas to words) in two languages to learn more.