Legally speaking (legal consequences), is it wrong to spike someone's drink? No dangerous or health-threatening substances, just a very mild pill that gives beneficial insomnia-curing effects.

Also, is there anything wrong with spiking your own drink? (And someone else came along and drank from your cup, of her own accord.)

  • 2
    That's actually two questions.
    – sleske
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 12:13
  • 5
    Please specify a jurisdiction. Every country has its own laws (and many countries have sub-jurisdictions like states that have laws of their own), so we need to know which laws you are asking about. Also, the international tag doesn't make sense here: spiking drinks is not something that international law addresses. Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 16:33

4 Answers 4


Giving someone a drug without their consent can be considered infliction of bodily harm in various jurisdiction. When it caused a negative effect on the person the perpetrator did not anticipate, it might be grossly negligent (if that effect was likely to occur) or just negligent (if one could not reasonably expect that this effect would occur). Details depend on jurisdiction and the mood of the judge. It might also be a factor if the court rules that the defendant acted in bad faith (for example, by expecting that the drug would make the injured party consent to something they wouldn't have consented to otherwise, regardless of if this actually happened).

Additionally, if the intention was to cure the injured party from a medical ailment (as implied by "pill with beneficial effect") it could theoretically be possible that the perpetrator also gets charged for practicing medicine without a license (if that is illegal in the jurisdiction). Should the perpetrator have a medical license, they will likely get charged with medical malpractice, because in most jurisdictions it is illegal to treat a patient without their consent (if the patient is in a condition which makes informed consent possible).

Regarding adding something to your own drink and inadvertently poisoning someone else who drinks from it: In most societies, drinking from the glass of someone else is considered against social etiquette, so a possible defense could be that the perpetrator could not reasonably expect that the person would do that. But it could still be judged as infliction of bodily harm through negligence depending on the circumstances and how likely it was to happen. For example, in an environment where many glasses with similar-looking drinks stand on a table, the risk that glasses get mixed up is quite high. Details - again - depend on jurisdiction.


As a lawyer, I have dealt with several cases similar to this one. In every case, the perpetrator of the drugging was put behind bars, because, as the prosecutors argued, you cannot assume that the victim would consent to being drugged without concrete evidence. Unless you have video or written evidence (as an audio recording is generally not accepted as admissible evidence) that the victim is consenting, then yes, spiking someone's drink is a federal offense.

  • It sounds as if this answer is from a US perspective, but it might be well to say that. If the specific crime or crimes that could be charged in such a case could be listed, that might also be helpful. Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 23:46

While I'm neither a lawyer nor a law expert, I'm 100% sure that giving people any drug without their full consent is strongly frowned upon, both legally and otherwise.

Regarding someone drinking something that you had prepared for yourself and ingesting a drug in the process, expect to have to prove that you prepared the drink for yourself, and then the other party decided to drink it of their own accord.


So the first question is "is slipping a mickey legal"? Of course it is illegal. You don't know the person's medical status. Maybe they are allergic to all 'anti-insomnia medication'. Maybe it has peanuts in it. May as well ask if it is legal for a bartender to spit into someones drink. You are basically poisoning them.

The second question, "can I roofie myself?" That probably isn't illegal. It is your drink, and your solo date. But after you roofied yourself, would you remember it? How would you know if things worked out the way you expected?

  • I would think the answer to the second question is more complex. Obviously if illegal drugs are involved, whatever you do with them is illegal. Although the manner of ingestion may be inconsequential, if it is consequential because someone else takes it by accident, of course you will be on the hook for whatever harm came to them. If the substance is legal, I think it will be a grey area about negligence. If you can demonstrate you took reasonable precautions to ensure someone else did not consume it, then they intentionally circumvented them, you may be okay.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 16:09
  • However, I am pretty sure there are laws about containment and consumption of prescription medication many places and if you are in violation of those, you are back holding the bag just like it was an illegal drug. The point of those restrictions is to define what would and would not count as negligence.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 16:09
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    "Of course it is illegal": Without even knowing what jurisdiction we are talking about, how can you say that? To be a good answer, I think this should cite a specific law (so that people can check for themselves without taking your word, even if you think it's "of course"). But the asker will have to specify a jurisdiction before this is possible. Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 16:34
  • So you're saying it is illegal to slip someone a peanut?
    – jqning
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 16:41
  • As far as I can tell. If I order a shot of whiskey straight, and the bartender ads a peanut, then he as Adulterated my shot. Illegal, at least in Minnesota. Statute 34A.02 Same would go if someone made brownies with ex-lax in them. Possibly even a felony Would think same law would apply if I ordered a shot, and they gave it to me with over the counter sleeping pills dissolved in it. Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 16:59

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