Can Military Members Be Too Drunk to Consent?

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Soldier drinking alochol

Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that there are very real issues regarding sexual assault in the military. For this reason, military members receive training known as SHARP. SHARP (Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention) training educates members that all sex with someone who has consumed alcohol is a crime. However, this is not true. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), having sex with someone who is drunk is not automatically a crime. 

Understanding the UCMJ

Rather, under the UCMJ it’s a crime to have sex with anyone who is so drunk (intoxicated) that they are no longer legally able to consent. While it is easy to tell that engaging in sexual intercourse with someone who didn’t drink at all or someone who is passed out is a crime, it’s not always so cut and dry. 

When you engage in sexual conduct with someone who has consumed alcohol but who is conscious it can get a bit hazier. When you make the decision to engage in sex with someone who has been drinking, you face the risk that he or she will later regret having made the decision while drunk to engage in sexual intercourse with you. 

He Said/She Said

When someone regrets their drunken decision of consenting to sexual activity with you, it can easily lead to an investigation and an allegation of sexual assault. Then it becomes your word against his or hers regarding their level of consumption. 

There’s no doubt that preventing sexual assault in the military is extremely important, but it’s also very important to protect the legal rights of those who have been accused of such a serious crime. Assumptions should not be made. 

However due to the current climate of sexual assault in the military and the attention that it has rightfully garnered, military members are looked at very closely for sexual assault and are at risk of being accused. Once accused they face very aggressive prosecution – even when the facts don’t align with the allegations. 

The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with Sexual Assault or Another Crime

When you are accused of sexual assault or another crime there is so much at risk both personally and professionally. The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible.

If you are a military service member (active or reserve) and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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