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In reference to law, “involuntary” is used to indicate a lack of control or intent. For example:

  • “Involuntary acts” includes reflexes, convulsions, or other acts which are not consciously controlled by the mind or which a person has no control. In criminal law, involuntary actions may absolve the actor of liability.
  • Involuntary intoxication” is intoxication that is brought about by innocent mistake, unexpectedly from prescription medication, or coerced.
  • Involuntary civil commitment” is when a person is committed to a mental health unit against their will.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]