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The state of an individual whose mind is affected by the consumption of alcohol.

Drunkenness is a consequence of drinking intoxicating liquors to such an extent as to alter the normal condition of an individual and significantly reduce his capacity for rational action and conduct. It can be asserted as a defense in civil and criminal actions in which the state of mind of the defendant is an essential element to be established in order to obtain legal relief.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

DRUNKENNESS. Intoxication with strong liquor.
     2. This is an offence generally punished by local regulations, more or less severely.
     3. Although drunkenness reduces a man to a temporary insanity, it does not excuse him or palliate his offence, when he commits a crime during a fit of intoxication, and which is the immediate result of it. When the act is a remote consequence, superinduced by the antecedent drunkenness of the party, as in cases of delirium tremens or mania a potu, the insanity excuses the act. 5 Mison's R. 28; Amer. Jurist, vol. 3, p. 5-20; Martin and Yeager's. R. 133, 147;. Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.; 1 Russ. on Cr. 7; Ayliffe's Parerg. 231 4 Bl. Com. 26.
     4. As there must be a will and intention in order to make a contract, it follows, that a man who is in such a state of intoxication as not to know what he is doing, may avoid a contract entered into by him while in this state. 2 Aik. Rep. 167; 1 Green, R. 233; 2 Verm. 97; 1 Bibb, 168; 3 Hayw. R. 82; 1 Hill, R. 313; 1 South. R. 361; Bull. N. P. 172; 1 Ves. 19; 18 Ves. 15; 3 P. Wms. 130, n. a; Sugd. Vend. 154; 1 Stark. 126; 1 South. R. 361; 2 Hayw. 394; but see 1 Bibb, R. 406; Ray's Med. Jur. ch. 23, 24; Fonbl. Eq. B. 2, 3; 22 Am. Jur. 290; 1 Fodere, Med. Leg. Sec. 215. Vide Ebriosity; Habitua. drunkard.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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