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Drugs and Diminished Capacity in Sex Crimes

Drugs and Diminished Capacity in Sex Crimes

When is sex considered a crime? In Minnesota, the law states an individual choosing to enter into a sexual relationship must have the mental capacity to know what they’re doing. It also states individuals entering into a sexual liaison cannot be coerced or forced.

The Law in Minnesota

Minnesota Statute 609.345 defines sex assault in this regard. It states:

  • Individuals under 13 may not enter into a sexual relationship with anyone who is more than 3 years older.
  • That between the ages of 16 and 18, minors may not have sexual relations with anyone more than 4 years older.
  • Individuals may not be forced or coerced into sexual activities or intercourse via the use of violence, threats, alcohol, or drugs such as Rohypnol or GHB.

The statute makes it clear that the state considers minors incapable of possessing the mental capacity to consent to sexual relations. Further, the statute makes it clear that having sexual relations with an individual whose mental capacity is impaired is against the law.

Federal Law

Under federal law, GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine are classified as Schedule 1 drugs. Possession of Schedule 1 drugs violates The Hillory J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date-Rape Drug Prohibition Act of 2000.  A conviction under federal law can lead to 20 years imprisonment. In Minnesota, GHB, Rohypnol, and Ketamine are considered Schedule III drugs. This makes them a fourth-degree offense, with a conviction leading to probation, or up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

The Cosby Case

GHB, alcohol, and diminished capacity are in the news because of the charges filed against Bill Cosby. He’s charged with drugging and raping Andrea Constand after giving her either GHB or Rohypnol in combination with alcohol. The case will bring the issue of diminished capacity and coercion to the forefront of discussion for many sex crime attorneys in Minneapolis, MN. In Cosby’s case, the prosecution must prove that Andrea Constand was forced, coerced, or had diminished capacity.

Cosby is facing many accusers. However, any subsequent prosecutions will need to prove these conditions were present with each individual alleging rape. It’s not enough for prosecutors to prove it in one case to establish a modus operandi for future prosecutions. This means that prosecutors won’t be able to rely upon testimony from victims alleging rape. Further, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to use previous statements, or settlements Cosby has previously entered into for the same reasons.

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