Is It Rape to Have Sex with Someone Who is Drunk?

Can a drunk person give consent? It’s one of those questions that has been discussed frequently on college campuses across the United States and it’s also a question that should be discussed more often. While drinking is a fairly typical activity among dating individuals, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those who drink are able to give consent. One must then wonder whether having sex with a person who is drunk constitutes rape.

What is Rape?

When asking this question, most are really asking a question about the definition of rape. This is a hotly contested topic in some areas, of course, but it’s actually well settled in the world of law. In Utah, rape is defined as “sexual intercourse with another person without the victim’s consent”. Utah is careful to state that this is a crime that can even happen within marriage, so consent is really the major factor. Moving forward, then, any determination of guilt will likely rely on whether the other party was able to give consent to the act.

Consent

The key element of the crime of rape is consent. If the other party does not give consent to a sexual act, that act is a crime. Consent is not as simple as a yes or no answer, though – while most states do list verbal lack of consent as a clear indication that consent wasn’t given, there are also many other ways that a victim can refuse to give consent. If the victim was coerced, for example, he or she is not able to give consent. If the victim was not in a state to knowingly engage in the act, the victim is likewise unable to give consent. When the victim is drunk, he or she is not held competent to give consent to any sexual act. Thus, have sex with a drunk person can very clearly be seen as rape.

Defenses

If being drunk is enough to invalidate consent, the road forward can be tough for one accused of rape. Defenses are hard to come by due to the language of the statute. The perpetrator’s claim that he was drunk as well is not enough to clear him of charges; he must instead show that he was either not the person who committed the act or show that he was given some kind of affirmative consent. This has become far more difficult to do than in years past, and it absolutely requires the help of a good criminal defense lawyer. Failure to get representation from an experienced lawyer like those found at WasatchDefenseLawyers.com can put one’s future in extreme jeopardy.

Under the laws of most states, it is absolutely rape to have sex with someone who is drunk. Drunk people cannot give consent, thus the crime of rape has occurred. There are defenses to the crime, but they are difficult to come by and require the help of a skilled attorney. Never sleep with someone who is drunk, even if you feel like the other person would normally consent – doing so can have major consequences.

 

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