Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Intoxication as a Defense

Some states by law allow intoxication as a defense to a criminal charge, although there seems to be a recent trend among legislatures to repeal such statutes where they are on the books.

At least one ancient Greek lawmaker would have viewed such a defense as ludicrous. Diogenes Laertius 1.4.76 (tr. R.D. Hicks) writes about Pittacus:
Among the laws which he made is one providing that for any offence committed in a state of intoxication the penalty should be doubled; his object was to discourage drunkenness, wine being abundant in the island [Mitylene].

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