According to a study performed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, conservative estimates of sexual assault prevalence suggest that 25% of American women have experienced sexual assault, including rape. Of that number, approximately half of those cases involved alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim, or both. Alcohol can often complicate sexual assault cases, blurring the lines between fact and fiction.
In this brief article, a sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa with our team at The Rickman Law Firm shares some insight into the role alcohol plays in cases of sexual assault, and how it can complicate an already complex case or trial process.
According to a study that examined instances of sexual assault on college campuses, researchers came to the conclusion that alcohol consumption by the perpetrator and/or the victim increases the likelihood of acquaintance sexual assault occurring through multiple pathways. Further, they concluded that alcohol’s psychological, cognitive and motor effects contribute to sexual assault.
This can be for multiple reasons. For example, a person who is drunk may have given consent to another drunk person but simply been unable to remember it. (It should be noted that whether consent is possible while intoxicated is a legal gray area in many cases.) Another reason is that alleged perpetrators may not be thinking clearly and may have misunderstood whether consent was given.
Further, studies have shown that alcohol enhances the misperception of sexual intent, sexual behavior, peer pressure, and aggression, while simultaneously decreasing one’s ability to resist and ability to rectify misperceptions. In other words, alcohol does exactly what we all know: it impairs both parties and muddies the waters of consent.
When alcohol was involved, accusations of sexual assault become a game of “he-said, she-said” and in some cases, both parties may feel violated. Being intoxicated can lead many victims to not report a sexual assault for fear of not being taken seriously, and for those cases that are reported there is a greater burden on the state to prove guilt.
So how do you protect yourself if you’re facing accusations of sexual assault or sexual battery when one or both parties was intoxicated? The most important step is to find an experienced sexual battery attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm who can help you understand the best possible defense for your case. When alcohol is involved, your case may become more complicated due to the nature of the accusation and the unreliability of the victim and any potential witnesses. Your attorney will help you navigate these complications while working to protect your rights.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.