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Florida Statute § 794.011 defines consent as “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission.” The statute explicitly states that the term is not to be deemed or construed to mean the failure by an alleged victim to offer physical resistance to an alleged offender.
The age of consent in Florida is 18, although the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” does allow people as young as 16 years of age to legally consent to sex with another person no older than 23 years of age. Consent is often a central issue in many alleged sex crime cases because alleged offenders believe that they cannot be held criminally liable because the alleged victim consented to sexual activity.
Have you been arrested or do you think that you might be under investigation for a criminal sexual offense in North Florida? No matter how confident you are in your innocence, you should still exercise your right to remain silent until you have contacted an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Pumphrey Law.
Don Pumphrey and the Tallahassee criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law aggressively defend clients accused of sex crimes in communities throughout the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region, such as Crawfordville, Monticello, Quincy, Tallahassee, Bristol, and many others. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Sexual battery (also known as rape) is the criminal sexual offense that most commonly involves disputes about consent. The definition of consent is established the sexual battery statute and is described as intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent.
In other words, a victim, at the time of the offense, was in possession of his or her mental capacities (i.e. not under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance), knew what he or she was consenting to, and did so on his or her own free will without any influence from the alleged offender or other parties.
When there is a disagreement between the alleged offender and the victim about whether a sexual encounter was consensual, an investigation may be able to help the alleged offender establish proof of consent—or at least present facts that are not inconsistent with casual sex.
Some of the issues that may be investigated include:
It is important to remember that when a person is charged sexual battery, the prosecutor is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt (the highest possible legal standard) that not only was there oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of the alleged offender or the anal or vaginal penetration of the alleged victim by any other object, but also that the alleged offender’s act was committed without the consent of the alleged victim.
If a jury has any doubt about whether the victim consented to the sexual activity, it must find the alleged offender not guilty.
Even when certain people provide intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent to sexual activity, they may not be legally able to do so. Alleged offenders can be charged with any number of sex crimes for engaging in prohibited sexual conduct with parties who are not legally able to consent to sexual activity.
The age of the alleged offender and victim play important roles in determining the grade of the crime when a person is accused of sexual battery.
Some of the other crimes that a person may be charged with for engaging in sexual acts with minors include:
If you believe that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for an alleged sexual crime in North Florida, it is in your best interest to refuse to make any statement to authorities until you have legal counsel. Pumphrey Law represents residents and visitors in Jefferson County, Liberty County, Wakulla County, Leon County, and Gadsden County.
Don Pumphrey and the criminal defense lawyers in Tallahassee at Pumphrey Law will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. Call (850) 681-7777 or complete an online contact form to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.
This article was last updated on Friday, September 15, 2017.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.
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