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Legal Issue in Legalizing Drugs

Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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8/24/2013 5:25:01 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
So, I kind of wanted to have a debate about this, but then I remembered I am not good at debating...

I used to be all for legalizing drugs for various reasons. However, as I think about drunk driving and diminished culpability, I wonder if legalizing drugs would have a similar effect on the legal system.

What are your thoughts?

Currently, if someone takes an illegal drug and does something illegal, it is not relevant that they had diminished capacity, because they engaged in a crime that lead to the event of another crime (similar to felony murder).
However, with alcohol, if I drink too much and get behind the wheel, my actions were legal up until I drove, at which point I wasn't able to think clearly (diminished capacity), therefore, I am not as culpable as someone who wasn't drinking.

So, if I were to get high (or stoned, or chasing the dragon, or whatever), and I do something stupid, am I culpable?
Like, let's say I was tripping on shrooms and panicked and shot my wife in the face thinking she was purple elephant who was going to eat me. Is that murder? Or is it a lessor level of crime?
My work here is, finally, done.
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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8/24/2013 5:37:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
That's murder. You accepted the chance that you could do that when you decided to do the drug.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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8/24/2013 5:39:44 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 5:37:34 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
That's murder. You accepted the chance that you could do that when you decided to do the drug.

But getting behind the wheel drunk is not murder. It is vehicular manslaughter, a much, much less charge than murder or manslaughter.
So, why is it different?
My work here is, finally, done.
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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8/24/2013 5:49:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 5:39:44 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 8/24/2013 5:37:34 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
That's murder. You accepted the chance that you could do that when you decided to do the drug.

But getting behind the wheel drunk is not murder. It is vehicular manslaughter, a much, much less charge than murder or manslaughter.
So, why is it different?

I don't think that being drunk should influence any other part of the ruling.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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8/24/2013 5:55:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 5:49:24 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/24/2013 5:39:44 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 8/24/2013 5:37:34 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
That's murder. You accepted the chance that you could do that when you decided to do the drug.

But getting behind the wheel drunk is not murder. It is vehicular manslaughter, a much, much less charge than murder or manslaughter.
So, why is it different?

I don't think that being drunk should influence any other part of the ruling.
The issue is that if you are drunk, you cannot form intent. If you have no intent, you are not culpable. For example, if you roll over while you sleep and suffocate your baby, did you commit murder? Did you commit murder if you caused a car accident, if it wasn't intentional?

This is why bartenders that continue to serve someone who is drunk are liable for that drunk's actions. Because the drunk has no ability to think clearly.
My work here is, finally, done.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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8/24/2013 5:57:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 5:49:24 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/24/2013 5:39:44 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 8/24/2013 5:37:34 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
That's murder. You accepted the chance that you could do that when you decided to do the drug.

But getting behind the wheel drunk is not murder. It is vehicular manslaughter, a much, much less charge than murder or manslaughter.
So, why is it different?

I don't think that being drunk should influence any other part of the ruling.

It's great that you think that, but the fact is, it can and often does.
So, with that in mind, and assuming the same logic applies, is it a good idea to legalize drugs?
My work here is, finally, done.
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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8/24/2013 8:13:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 5:25:01 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
So, I kind of wanted to have a debate about this, but then I remembered I am not good at debating...

I used to be all for legalizing drugs for various reasons. However, as I think about drunk driving and diminished culpability, I wonder if legalizing drugs would have a similar effect on the legal system.

What are your thoughts?

Currently, if someone takes an illegal drug and does something illegal, it is not relevant that they had diminished capacity, because they engaged in a crime that lead to the event of another crime (similar to felony murder).
However, with alcohol, if I drink too much and get behind the wheel, my actions were legal up until I drove, at which point I wasn't able to think clearly (diminished capacity), therefore, I am not as culpable as someone who wasn't drinking.

I don't think that follows. If you choose to get drunk, you by extension accept everything you do afterward. It might not LITERALLY be done in full capacity, but certainly you started drinking at some point being fully capable. This means that your diminished capacity is solely your fault, because you diminished your own capacity.

In short, the legal precedent is false, I feel.

So, if I were to get high (or stoned, or chasing the dragon, or whatever), and I do something stupid, am I culpable?
Like, let's say I was tripping on shrooms and panicked and shot my wife in the face thinking she was purple elephant who was going to eat me. Is that murder? Or is it a lessor level of crime?

It's a BIT of a tough call, but I still would say it's murder. Yes, you were mentally impaired, but it was a mental impairment that YOU gave yourself. You're still ultimately culpable.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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8/24/2013 1:13:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hmmm...
Maybe I am wrong about my OP...
I was thinking specifically of drunk driving and killing someone.

To my understanding, that would be either manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, since your action of driving drunk was the catalyst to someone's death.
However, since you were impaired because you were drunk (a legal action), the crime is lessened. It is in the same vein that one cannot get married or sign a will while clearly drunk.

I suppose I don't know what happens with outright murder, but I doubt it is murder, but probably a manslaughter charge. I could be wrong.

My point is, legal mental mitigation could be a big issue if other drugs were legal.

So, using the example of drunk driving and killing due to accident, if you were legally impaired, you get a lighter sentence. So, we would have to check for all kinds of drugs, which may or may not be worth it.
My work here is, finally, done.
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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8/24/2013 3:31:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 1:13:32 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
Hmmm...
Maybe I am wrong about my OP...
I was thinking specifically of drunk driving and killing someone.

To my understanding, that would be either manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, since your action of driving drunk was the catalyst to someone's death.
However, since you were impaired because you were drunk (a legal action), the crime is lessened. It is in the same vein that one cannot get married or sign a will while clearly drunk.

I suppose I don't know what happens with outright murder, but I doubt it is murder, but probably a manslaughter charge. I could be wrong.

My point is, legal mental mitigation could be a big issue if other drugs were legal.

So, using the example of drunk driving and killing due to accident, if you were legally impaired, you get a lighter sentence. So, we would have to check for all kinds of drugs, which may or may not be worth it.

Diminished responsibility is not necessarily a valid defence, as it depends what you're doing. If I get drunk and shoot someone in the face in an argument, it was still murder. It may not have been pre-meditated, but I still acted in a way that I knew had a significant risk of resulting in death. If being drunk when I do it is a defence, so would being stupid.

However, there is a difference between premeditated murder and 'crimes of passion' or 'in the moment'. This is true for emotional states as well as intoxicated ones.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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8/24/2013 3:52:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 3:31:22 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 8/24/2013 1:13:32 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
Hmmm...
Maybe I am wrong about my OP...
I was thinking specifically of drunk driving and killing someone.

To my understanding, that would be either manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, since your action of driving drunk was the catalyst to someone's death.
However, since you were impaired because you were drunk (a legal action), the crime is lessened. It is in the same vein that one cannot get married or sign a will while clearly drunk.

I suppose I don't know what happens with outright murder, but I doubt it is murder, but probably a manslaughter charge. I could be wrong.

My point is, legal mental mitigation could be a big issue if other drugs were legal.

So, using the example of drunk driving and killing due to accident, if you were legally impaired, you get a lighter sentence. So, we would have to check for all kinds of drugs, which may or may not be worth it.

Diminished responsibility is not necessarily a valid defence, as it depends what you're doing. If I get drunk and shoot someone in the face in an argument, it was still murder. It may not have been pre-meditated, but I still acted in a way that I knew had a significant risk of resulting in death. If being drunk when I do it is a defence, so would being stupid.
Well, being retarded is a defense, to my understanding.

However, there is a difference between premeditated murder and 'crimes of passion' or 'in the moment'. This is true for emotional states as well as intoxicated ones.
We aren't dealing with premeditation, we are dealing with intent.
If a drunk can form intent, then why can't they testify in court, sign a will, or get married?

I will look into this.
And, keep in mind, we are not talking about one or two beers, we are talking about being hammered, like I don't remember last night drunk.
My work here is, finally, done.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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8/24/2013 4:51:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 5:25:01 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
So, I kind of wanted to have a debate about this, but then I remembered I am not good at debating...

I used to be all for legalizing drugs for various reasons. However, as I think about drunk driving and diminished culpability, I wonder if legalizing drugs would have a similar effect on the legal system.

What are your thoughts?

Currently, if someone takes an illegal drug and does something illegal, it is not relevant that they had diminished capacity, because they engaged in a crime that lead to the event of another crime (similar to felony murder).
However, with alcohol, if I drink too much and get behind the wheel, my actions were legal up until I drove, at which point I wasn't able to think clearly (diminished capacity), therefore, I am not as culpable as someone who wasn't drinking.

So, if I were to get high (or stoned, or chasing the dragon, or whatever), and I do something stupid, am I culpable?
Like, let's say I was tripping on shrooms and panicked and shot my wife in the face thinking she was purple elephant who was going to eat me. Is that murder? Or is it a lessor level of crime?

If someone is willing to commit murder or is in a state of mind where they would commit murder, the knowledge that they might get manslaughter instead of murder 2 probably won't do much for them.

If you try to get high/drunk purposefully to kill someone, it's premeditated murder and you go down for a long time.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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8/24/2013 4:53:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/24/2013 4:51:35 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 8/24/2013 5:25:01 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
So, I kind of wanted to have a debate about this, but then I remembered I am not good at debating...

I used to be all for legalizing drugs for various reasons. However, as I think about drunk driving and diminished culpability, I wonder if legalizing drugs would have a similar effect on the legal system.

What are your thoughts?

Currently, if someone takes an illegal drug and does something illegal, it is not relevant that they had diminished capacity, because they engaged in a crime that lead to the event of another crime (similar to felony murder).
However, with alcohol, if I drink too much and get behind the wheel, my actions were legal up until I drove, at which point I wasn't able to think clearly (diminished capacity), therefore, I am not as culpable as someone who wasn't drinking.

So, if I were to get high (or stoned, or chasing the dragon, or whatever), and I do something stupid, am I culpable?
Like, let's say I was tripping on shrooms and panicked and shot my wife in the face thinking she was purple elephant who was going to eat me. Is that murder? Or is it a lessor level of crime?

If someone is willing to commit murder or is in a state of mind where they would commit murder, the knowledge that they might get manslaughter instead of murder 2 probably won't do much for them.

If you try to get high/drunk purposefully to kill someone, it's premeditated murder and you go down for a long time.

As to people deciding to drive high/drunk, their calculus depends more on whether they'll get pulled over than the thought that they might hit someone.

But even something as small (comparitively) as a DUI can go a long way in changing a man's mind about drunk driving.
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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8/24/2013 5:42:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
If you kill someone by driving drunk it's still an accident. One you significantly increased the chance of, but an accident nonetheless.

If you genuinely believed you were being attacked by a ravenous pink elephant, then you're clearly either insane of you've taken far too much. Having a gun around while tripping also seems highly irresponsible. Obviously it would be a less severe crime than premeditated murder, but still quite punishable (although as I said, you would probably be insane anyway).

Why exactly would this change your mind about legalisation?