Alcohol- and Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault: A Survey of the Law

While the absence of laws covering the assault of a voluntarily intoxicated victim is often cited as a barrier to prosecuting sexual assault cases, the laws in all 58 U.S. jurisdictions allow for the prosecution of sexual assault cases in which the victim was voluntarily intoxicated. The language in some statutes, however, may not always include the assaultive conduct relevant to a specific case. Additionally, some sexual assault statutes do include an element requiring the victim’s intoxication to be caused by a perpetrator, without the victim’s knowledge, for the purpose of perpetrating a sexual assault. Because language among these statutes is not consistent and may not specifically refer to intoxicated victims, this Statutes in Review synthesizes the similarities and distinctions among the statutory language and summarizes AEquitas’ more comprehensive analysis of rape and sexual assault laws covering alcohol- and drug -facilitated sexual assault involving penetration in all jurisdictions in the country.