How Can Consent Impact the Outcome of a Sex Crime Case?

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Being convicted of a sex crime can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. However, there are some potential defenses against such charges, such as consent. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned New Jersey sex crimes attorney from the Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri to learn more about how consent can impact sex crime cases and how our legal team can defend you from these charges. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What is Consent?

Consent is a voluntary and affirmative agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be expressed verbally or non-verbally, as long as it is clear and unambiguous. Importantly, however, consent can also be withdrawn at any time during the sexual activity. In fact, consent is sometimes not a valid defense against a sex crime charge, such as in the following cases:

  • The alleged victim is under the age of consent. In New Jersey, the age of consent is 16. This means that anyone who has sex with someone under 16, even if they agreed to it, can be charged with statutory rape.
  • The alleged victim is incapacitated by drugs, alcohol, or mental illness. Consent cannot be given by someone who is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the sexual activity.
  • The alleged victim is coerced by threats, force, or fraud. Consent cannot be given by someone who is under duress or fear of harm.
  • The alleged victim is in a position of dependency or authority with the accused. Consent cannot be given by someone who is under the supervision or control of the accused, such as a parolee, prisoner, patient, student, or employee.

How does consent impact the outcome of a sex crime case?

If you are accused of a sex crime, consent can often be a crucial factor in your defense strategy. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to argue that:

  • The alleged victim gave valid and voluntary consent to the sexual activity.
  • The alleged victim did not clearly communicate their lack of consent or withdrawal of consent.
  • You reasonably believed that the alleged victim consented to the sexual activity.

That being said, consent is not a simple or easy defense to prove. You will need to present credible evidence and, likely, witnesses, to support your claim. You will also need to overcome the prosecution’s arguments that may challenge your version of events. Fortunately, if you’re reading this, you are in the right place. The Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri has extensive experience representing individuals charged with sex crimes, and we are prepared to fight for you, every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation with our competent, dedicated legal team.