AQA A2 Law Unit 3 - Evaluations - Intoxication

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 19-04-14 13:46

The Distinction between Specific and Basic Intent

The Distinction between Specific and Basic Intent

Voluntary intoxication = Specific only 

Usually takes a subjective approach to the MR ( Don't know what you're doing = not guilty) 

  • DPP v Majewski (1977) - Doesn't see the risk of their actions = still guilty as they were reckless

Specific Intent

  • Many based on the mental element, but not for the lesser crimes


  • Judges have to decide whether a crime is basic or specific 

Heard - Not clear whether sexual assult was specific or  basic ( Don't know whether intoxication can be used or not) 

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The relationship between intoxication to other def

The relationship between intoxication to other defences

Richardson and Irwin (1999) - Held friend over balcony whilst drunk, consent given by horseplay (was it genuine consent?)

- If drinking leads to a disease of the mind = insanity 

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Coincidence of AR and MR

Coincidence of AR and MR 

DPP v Majewski - Ignores the idea that MR and AR must coincide 

O'Grady - Defendant committed the act some hours after drinking 

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Public Policy

Public Policy 

Heavily grounded by public policy conciderations 

1. Intoxication is a major factor to many crimes

2. Balance the rights of the victim and the defendant 

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  • Make a stronger distinction between basic and specific intent crimes ( Basic - suggests a level of intent, actually means recklessness)


  • Keep Majewski rule but get rid of Specific and Basic
  • Integral fault elements; 
  • - Intention as to consequence
  • - Knowledge as to something
  • - Belief as to something
  • - Fraud
  • - Dishonesty

Defendant would not be guilty if the offence required a fault element, which cannot be proved

  • Involuntary intoxication should be considered, regardless of fault element 
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