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Date Rape Drugs

Date rape drugs are drugs that are used to help in the commission of a sexual assault. A sexual assault is offensive sexual contact with another person without the person's consent, or when that person lacks the capacity to give legal consent. These drugs may have sedative, hypnotic, dissociative or amnesiac effects and usually leave a victim's body within 72 hours. They come in liquid, powder or pill form and can be added to food or drink without the victim's knowledge. The commonality in all date rape drugs is the passive effect they have on their victims who usually are still able to play a role in what is happening but will have little to no memory of the incident afterwards. The four most common date rape drugs are: alcohol, GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine.

Alcohol

Alcohol is the most common date rape drug as it is readily available, legal to purchase and generally voluntarily consumed by its victims. Alcohol, if abused, may result in impaired judgment, blackouts, and memory loss. If a person drinks large quantities of alcohol and "agrees" to a sexual act, the crime of rape could be charged if the victim's judgment was so impaired or the victim was so incapacitated due to alcohol that he or she could not lawfully consent to the act.

GHB

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid) is another common date rape drug. It comes in liquid form, white powder, and a pill. When GHB is placed in a liquid it becomes invisible and is relatively tasteless, leaving a potential victim unaware that the drug has been ingested. Other street names for GHB can include: bedtime scoup, cherry meth, easy lay, energy drink, g, gamma 10, Georgia home boy, g-juice, gook, goop, great hormones, grievous bodily harm, liquid e, liquid ecstasy, liquid x, pm, salt water, soap, somatomax and vita-g. GHB is a very strong sedative and can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, seizures, and respiratory depression. GHB was recently made legal in the United States to treat insomnia. However, if this drug were to be ingested by an unknowing person, and that person had sex, a rape charge could be filed.

Rohypnol

Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) is used primarily as a date rape drug because it is highly potent and causes motor impairment, sedation and amnesia. Rohypnol is ten times stronger than valium and sleeping pills. Street names for Rohypnol include: roofies, circle, forget pills, LA roches, lunch money, Mexican valium, mind eraser, poor man's quaalude, r-2, rib, roach, roach-2, rope, trip-and-fall and whiteys. For the same reasons as the other two drugs, use of this drug on an unsuspecting person can lead to a rape charge. Moreover, this drug is completely illegal to possess in most states, including California. Possession of Rohypnol is punishable under California Health and Safety Code section 11377 by a year in county jail or up to three years in state prison. Possession for sale and sales of Rohypnol are prosecuted as felonies under Health and Safety Code sections 11378 and 11379 and are punishable by up to three and four years in state prison, respectively.

Ketamine

Ketamine (Ketamine Hyrochloride) is a legal drug in the United States. It is used as an anesthetic on people, more commonly on animals. Ketamine is known on the streets as: K, Special K, black hole, bump, cat valium, green, jet, K hole, kit kat, psychedelic heroin, purple, and super acid. Ketamine can cause hallucinations, a lost sense of time, convulsions, loss of consciousness, loss of coordination and can cause potentially fatal respiratory failure. For the same reason as the other drugs, due to its dissociative and sedative effects, if someone unwillingly ingested the drug and then participated in any kind of sexual activity, the perpetrator could face rape charges.

In California, rape crimes, including rape by use of date rape drugs, are felonies and are charged under Penal Code Section 261. Penal Code Section 261(a)(3) characterizes rape as sexual intercourse accomplished with someone who is not your spouse, and who is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating, anesthetic or controlled substances known to the person charged. Penal Code Section 261(a)(4)(A) characterizes rape as sexual intercourse accomplished with someone who is not your spouse, and who is unconscious or asleep. Penal Code Section 261(a)(4)(B) characterizes rape as sexual intercourse accomplished with someone who is not your spouse and who is not aware, knowing, perceiving or cognizant that the act has occurred.

A conviction of any of these rape crimes carries a variety of harsh consequences, including a lengthy state prison sentence and lifelong sex registration. If you have been charged with, or are being investigated for a crime involving a date rape drug, consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and learn what legal options are available to you.