Irresistible Impulse Law and Legal Definition

Irresistible impulse is a defense in criminal law. This is defense by excuse, in which the defendant argues that s/he should not be held criminally liable, because s/he could not control his or her actions when committing the crime, although s/he knew that his or her actions were wrong. The courts use the Policeman at the Elbow test to determine whether the defendant was insane when he committed a crime. The test asks If the defendant would have done what s/he did even if a policeman was standing at his elbow.