Voluntary intoxication and criminal responsibility

Behav Sci Law. 1999;17(2):195-217. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-0798(199904/06)17:2<195::aid-bsl339>3.0.co;2-p.


This paper reviews the law related to voluntary intoxication and criminal responsibility in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin islands, and Puerto Rico. Statutory and case law citations are provided which govern the use of intoxication evidence in each jurisdiction to negate mens rea (i.e., to establish diminished capacity), to support an insanity defense, and to mitigate criminal sentencing. Factors that courts typically focus on when deciding whether to admit this evidence in a particular case are discussed, and these factors are related to clinically relevant criteria.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Intoxication / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology
  • Crime / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Homicide / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Insanity Defense*
  • Prohibitins
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • United States