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College dealing with date rape charges

Even in the greater Chicago area, it is likely most everyone has heard of a recent situation happening in California. School police at the University of California, Berkeley reported that five people were given, allegedly, a date-rape drug and then sexually assaulted at a fraternity located off campus. The investigation is ongoing.

Date rape is a serious charge that carries hefty consequences. The five individuals in this case report that they were given ‘roofies’, the common name for Rohypnol, one of a handful of drugs often cited in date rape cases. It is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless sleep drug that comes in pill form that can be crushed and easily slipped into drinks.

Date Rape is a broad term that is not limited to the aid of drugs. It is defined as unlawful sexual intercourse that is committed during a social engagement between the rapist and victim. The social engagement can be a date, a party, or any event where people interact. Rapist and victim indicates that consent from all parties is not present. Also, force may or may not be present. In the Berkeley incident, the accusations are that there was an act, there was no consent, and that the act was preceded by the introduction of drugs. When drugs are invoked in a date rape accusation, it suggests that the accuser has limited or impaired judgment and thus an impaired ability to consent to a sexual act.

Sorting a situation like this out relies on these critical information points. Witness testimony can be tricky, especially since there are drugs and potentially alcohol involved, so the body of physical evidence counts on detectable traces of common ‘date rape drugs.’ These are typically detectable for 48 hours. Chances are there is a prior, possibly sexual, relationship between the accuser and the accused. Prior consent to previous acts is an invalid defense to such incidents.

While this is unfolding out of state it is worth following if you are facing a similar situation anywhere. If you have been accused of date rape and are in the Chicago area, it is important to know your options, all the facts, and to seek the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. With the aid of an attorney that is skilled in this area of criminal defense, you can weigh options and formulate the best defense possible.

Source: Huffington Post, Multiple People Allegedly Given Date-Rape Drugs at UC Berkeley Fraternity, Oct. 17, 2014

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