Qui Peccat Ebrius Luat Sobrius

“Qui Peccat Ebrius Luat Sobrius”

 Literal Meaning

He who does wrong when drunk must be punished when sober.


The maxim is originated from Latin language.


The maxim applies to those who have voluntary intoxicated themselves. This maxim has wider ambit than just being drunk on alcohol. There could be any type of Intoxication. According to criminal theory, an act becomes criminal when there are two elements present:-

Mens Rea

Actus Rea

When a person is intoxicated there is no the mental element is absent I.e. the intention to commit an offence is not there, but if a person has voluntary intoxicated himself he has chosen this state of inebriation and hence s liable for the acts he does while being intoxicated. The involuntary intoxication is a defence provided in criminal law as exception as he is unaware of the fact or is forced into taking it. Thus only voluntary intoxicated person is punished for the wrong doing.

Case study:-

“In R v Lipman,[1970] 1 QB 152. the defendant, voluntarily consumed LSD, had the illusion of going down to the centre of the earth and was attacked by snakes. In his attempt to resist these reptiles, he gave a blow to the victim (also a drug addict) two blows on the head causing grievous hurt to her brain and shoved some eight inches of the bed sheet into her mouth and consequently she died of asphyxia. He claimed to have had no knowledge of what he was doing and had no intention to harm her. His defence of intoxication was rejected at his trial and he was punished of unlawful act manslaughter. His appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.”


In the case of DPP v. Majewski,  [1977] AC 443  “Majewski was intoxicated and he made three attempts of assault causing bodily harm and apprehended a constable who was on duty. The judges came to the conclusion that in this case, no particular intention is needed the defendant was guilty.

“Qui Peccat Ebrius Luat Sobrius”

Also Read: De Minimis Non Curat Lex

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