Skip to main content
placeholder image

Criminal law and the effects of alcohol and other drugs: a national study of the significance of "intoxication" in Australian legislation

Journal Article


Download full-text (Open Access)

Abstract


  • Recent years have seen intense media scrutiny, concerted policy discussion and significant law reform on the relationship between the consumption of alcohol (and other drugs) and the commission of criminal offences. Much of the debate has been dominated by the view that, particularly for crimes of violence, the state of ‘intoxication’ produced by the consumption of alcohol and other drugs (‘AOD’) should be regarded as an aggravating factor that adds to the seriousness of the harm done and warrants additional punishment. Some recent legislative reform measures have unambiguously embraced this position. As important as it is, treating intoxication as an aggravating factor is, in fact, only one of the ways in which Australian criminal law attaches significance to AOD consumption.

    We are currently undertaking a large-scale study of the ‘knowledges’ and assumptions about the relationship between intoxication and violence (and other offending and anti-social behaviours) that are reflected in Australian criminal laws. Our project compares legislative and judicial knowledges on ‘intoxication’ with scientific and social scientific expert knowledges on the effects of AOD, and the relationship between AOD consumption and violence and other criminal offending. It maps and assesses the multiple ways in which Australian criminal laws attach significance to the attribute of intoxication, and investigates the effects these approaches may have in practice. We aim to facilitate enhanced clarity, consistency and integrity in laws that attach penal significance to the fact of a person’s intoxication, and improve the criminal law’s capacity to meet the needs of the community with respect to the attribution of criminal responsibility for AOD-related anti-social behaviour, harms and risks.

Authors


  •   Quilter, Julia A.
  •   McNamara, Luke J. (external author)
  •   Seear, Kate (external author)
  •   Room, Robin (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • J. Quilter, L. J. McNamara, K. Seear & R. Room, 'Criminal law and the effects of alcohol and other drugs: a national study of the significance of "intoxication" in Australian legislation' (2016) 39 (3) University of New South Wales Law Journal 913-949.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3522&context=lhapapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/2513

Number Of Pages


  • 36

Start Page


  • 913

End Page


  • 949

Volume


  • 39

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • Sydney, Australia

Abstract


  • Recent years have seen intense media scrutiny, concerted policy discussion and significant law reform on the relationship between the consumption of alcohol (and other drugs) and the commission of criminal offences. Much of the debate has been dominated by the view that, particularly for crimes of violence, the state of ‘intoxication’ produced by the consumption of alcohol and other drugs (‘AOD’) should be regarded as an aggravating factor that adds to the seriousness of the harm done and warrants additional punishment. Some recent legislative reform measures have unambiguously embraced this position. As important as it is, treating intoxication as an aggravating factor is, in fact, only one of the ways in which Australian criminal law attaches significance to AOD consumption.

    We are currently undertaking a large-scale study of the ‘knowledges’ and assumptions about the relationship between intoxication and violence (and other offending and anti-social behaviours) that are reflected in Australian criminal laws. Our project compares legislative and judicial knowledges on ‘intoxication’ with scientific and social scientific expert knowledges on the effects of AOD, and the relationship between AOD consumption and violence and other criminal offending. It maps and assesses the multiple ways in which Australian criminal laws attach significance to the attribute of intoxication, and investigates the effects these approaches may have in practice. We aim to facilitate enhanced clarity, consistency and integrity in laws that attach penal significance to the fact of a person’s intoxication, and improve the criminal law’s capacity to meet the needs of the community with respect to the attribution of criminal responsibility for AOD-related anti-social behaviour, harms and risks.

Authors


  •   Quilter, Julia A.
  •   McNamara, Luke J. (external author)
  •   Seear, Kate (external author)
  •   Room, Robin (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • J. Quilter, L. J. McNamara, K. Seear & R. Room, 'Criminal law and the effects of alcohol and other drugs: a national study of the significance of "intoxication" in Australian legislation' (2016) 39 (3) University of New South Wales Law Journal 913-949.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3522&context=lhapapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/2513

Number Of Pages


  • 36

Start Page


  • 913

End Page


  • 949

Volume


  • 39

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • Sydney, Australia