In 2019, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that “criminal victimization for both violent and property crimes increases noticeably at age 21…. The effects are particularly large for sexual assaults, especially those that occur in public locations.” The data looked at men and women who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the attack.

There are a lot of misconceptions about how drugs and alcohol affect a person’s ability to consent, and what legally constitutes sexual assault. The most important thing to remember is this: those who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol are unable to give consent to another person in the first place. If you were under the influence, you can still make a claim if you were assaulted.

What the laws say

In October of 2019, the North Carolina General Assembly voted unanimously to reform the state’s sexual assault laws. The new law “essentially cancels a 2008 court decision that said sexual assault laws don’t apply to people incapacitated because of their own actions, such as taking drugs or alcohol. And the legislation makes clear that it’s illegal to drug someone’s drink.” It also made it possible for women to revoke consent, even if they had previously agreed to engage in sexual activity.

In short, being drunk or high is no longer a barrier to bringing a sexual assault case.

Furthermore, a civil case is not reliant upon a criminal case. Therefore, if your attacker is found innocent or is acquitted, or his/her charges are dropped, you can still file a claim in civil court. Not only does sexual assault cause physical pain and trauma, but it can lead to years of emotional pain and suffering that may require counseling and the support of different people in your life to help you cope with what happened.

The civil recovery process involves working with an attorney who fights for victims and their right to receive compensation because of their injuries, whether those injuries are physical, emotional or a combination of both. The purpose of filing a civil lawsuit is to recover compensation for the following:

  • Loss of income
  • Medical expenses, including the cost of therapy
  • Relocation expenses for victims who want to move due to no longer feeling safe in their homes
  • Pain and suffering

After experiencing a sexual assault, you might not know what to do or who to confide in, but you are not alone. Many victims of assault feel the same way. It is important that you know there are resources available to help you. You can make a call to the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 to get connected with a service provider in your area who can help you.

When you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are in no condition to consent to sexual activity. If someone took advantage of your condition, you have the right to press charges and file a civil lawsuit against your attacker. At Warren & Kallianos, PLLC we want to help you. Contact us in Charlotte today at 704-377-7777 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation at your convenience.