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Title IX Issues: Having a Drunken Good Time Can Affect You in More Ways Than One

Title IX By Binnall Law Group - 2021/07/16 at 04:43pm

Many college students know and understand the importance of obtaining consent before participating in any type of sexual interaction with another individual. Still, on some level, some young adults may not grasp how consent really works, particularly when there is alcohol involved during a sexual encounter. That said, if you have been accused of a Title IX violation involving alcohol, we encourage you to seek legal guidance right away.   

Incapacitated or Intoxicated: What’s the Difference?

Incapacitation and intoxication are two very different things that can be a bit tricky to identify. For example, a certain level of intoxication could result in alcohol-impaired judgment. However, it might not prevent a person from consenting to sex or any other type of interaction.  Picture this:  A female friend of yours has had a couple of drinks while at a campus party and seems to be just a little “buzzed.” If that’s the case, she may be experiencing alcohol-impaired judgment such that she might be the initiator of sex when she ordinarily wouldn’t have been, but she still knows what she’s doing and is capable of providing consent.

However, issues can arise when a person is so drunk or high that they have no clue what’s going on and they ultimately lack the mental ability to give consent.  There comes a time within the level of drunkenness that mere intoxication leads to incapacitation and it’s at that point where consent cannot be provided.

These types of issues can be difficult to evaluate in a normal court, but they can be even more complex in campus disciplinary proceedings involving Title IX where some administrators tend to botch investigations and aim for quick resolutions.

What Factors Will Be Considered?

As an accused individual, you may be wondering how the school will assess whether their accuser was incapacitated such that they weren’t able to provide consent. The investigators generally consider a number of factors when determining one’s level of intoxication, such as the amount of alcohol the accuser consumed, the accuser’s weight, whether the accuser vomited or displayed any other type of behavior that would indicate a high level of intoxication, and witness testimony.

For instance, if the accuser only had two drinks and weighs 130 pounds, they would likely be considered merely intoxicated and not totally incapacitated (if there’s no other proof that demonstrates incapacitation).

Get the Help You Need From a Title IX Attorney at Binnall Law Group

To be clear, whether intoxication prevents one’s ability to consent is a fact-based question.  That means that it is one that will need to be resolved by school administrators in a Title IX campus disciplinary proceeding who will review all evidence related to the sexual interaction to determine the accuser’s level of intoxication and whether it was high enough to prevent consent.

Keep in mind: There’s nothing illegal about a drunken sexual encounter, depending on the intoxication level of the participants.  However, the situation could change very quickly if the accuser had one or two more drinks than expected, which put them on a different level. 

The line is very thin when it comes to legal and illegal conduct in these situations and accused students may feel overwhelmed by the idea of a disciplinary proceeding. Just know that our Title IX attorney is here to help you through the entire process, so you don’t have to go it alone. Contact us today to discuss your specific situation.