Over 100 Not Guilty Verdicts At Trial | Over 2,000 Dismissals

* Statistics Verified by County Clerk of Court Documents

Read More
Client Testimonials
  • "We are very fortunate to have hired such a wonderful team!!" by A.K., Past Client
  • "Don Pumphrey is a very respectable and trustworthy person" by Alejandro M.
  • "Don Pumphrey is amazing and gets the job done right!! I would highly recommend him to anyone. " by Amanda, Past Client
  • "Superlative firm, experienced and professional. Definitely a stand out in Tallahassee." by Austin C., Past Client
  • "The legal and emotional support is unsurpassed." by Braxton O., Wife of Past Client
  • "[Don] is honest, truthful and the person you want in your corner." by J. Williams, Past Client
  • "If you are looking for top-notch legal council either locally or abroad, look no further. Don Pumphrey and his staff will fight unremittingly for your your rights!" by Jeremy C., Past Client
  • "He helped me to not only get through my court case, he also helped me put it behind me so that I may continue to move forward with my life. If you choose him to represent you, he will NOT let you down. " by Kevin M., Past Client
  • "I will definitely be recommending his firm to anyone I come across that needs legal counsel. Thank you Don! You put our anxiety at ease and established a relationship and referrals for a lifetime!" by Kim S., Past Client
  • " I am very grateful for their help and would recommend contacting them for your legal troubles" by L.C., Past Client
  • "They were there for me every step of the way and I never felt like just another case to them." by Lauren J., Past Client
  • "I am profoundly grateful to you Don" by Lee N. Scheele Jr., Peer
  • "During our initial phone conference with Mr. Pumphrey, we could tell that our son was in good hands." by Michelle K., Parent of Past Client
  • "Look no further and trust you child's case to Don Pumphrey. Please don't allow your child to settle for less. Kids will grow and learn but a bad legal decision will impact your child forever." by Rosanna O., Former Client
  • ""Best Lawyer in Town"" by Yohan Lange, Former Client

Consent

Consent is often a central issue in alleged sex crime cases. Alleged offenders may believe they cannot be held criminally liable for crimes of sexual nature due to the alleged victim consenting to sexual activity. However, the role consent plays in securing a conviction for certain sex crimes is massive. In fact, whether a person is convicted of a sex crime can lie on that one factor: consent.

So, what is consent? What is deemed as a person not giving consent? These are important questions that any person accused of a sex crime in Florida should be familiar with. If an alleged victim takes their case to a state prosecutor and it goes to trial, the outcome of a conviction can be life-altering.

Despite the fear and anxiety that comes with allegations of a sex crime where the determining evidence lies on consent, a defense attorney in Tallahassee can help you understand the charges and how to fight back to avoid a criminal conviction.

Lawyer for Consent Issues in Tallahassee, FL Sex Crime Cases

Have you recently been arrested for a sex crime? Or do you think you might be under investigation for an alleged 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 sex crime attorney with Pumphrey Law.

Our firm aggressively defends individuals who are 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 any legal questions you may have. Call our office today at (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Back to top

Overview of Consent in Leon County

Back to top

What is Consent?

To accurately navigate the justice system, it is imperative that a person accused of a sex crime understands what constitutes as consent in Florida.

Consent is defined under Florida Statute Section 794.011 as “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission.”

Another helpful explanation is provided by Cornell Law, which defines consent as when a person voluntarily and willfully agrees in response to another person’s proposition. Additionally, the person giving their consent should possess sufficient mental capacity.

When it comes to allegations of a sexual offense, consent plays a crucial role. These cases often rely on consent, or the lack of it, in the alleged incident. In a mutual, sexual activity, both individuals would consent to engage in the activity.

The following provides example scenarios that would not constitute as consenting to sexual activities:

  • Silence or no response – Not saying “no” does not mean the answer is yes. If the person is silent or chooses not to respond after another person attempts to commit any sexual acts to them or in their presence, it is not considered consensual.
  • Relenting under pressure – A person who was attempting to say no but was pressured into saying yes is not considered consent.
  • Incapacitation – Any person who is asleep, intoxicated, or impaired in any way cannot consent to any sexual engagement or activity.
  • Use of threats or intimidation – A person who was threatened to take part in a sexual activity—either by threats of harm to them or someone they love—is not considered consensual.
  • Inability to consent due to age – Florida has strict rules when it comes to age of consent. A person who is younger than 18 cannot engage in a sexual activity and claim they consented, due to them being considered too young;
  • Inability to consent due to mental capacity – A person who is considered mentally incompetent cannot give consent to sexual activities;
  • Consent induced or coerced – A person who only gave consent due to them being coerced or tricked into doing so is not considered consensual;
  • Withdrawal of consent – A person who initially consents to engage in a sexual activity but then withdraws it due to changing their mind, a defendant cannot claim that it counted as consent later;
  • Sexual activity by force – In any scenario, a person who conducts a sexual activity to or upon another person by force is not considered consensual.

In Florida, the most common disputes revolving around consent arise in cases where the alleged victim was too young or incapacitated to consent.

Consent Issues in Florida Sexual Battery Cases

Sexual battery (also known as rape) is the sexual offense that most often involves disputes over consent.

The defendant may claim that at the time of the offense, the alleged victim was in possession of their mental capacities (i.e. not under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance), knew what they were consenting to, and did so on their own free will without any influence from the alleged offender or other parties. If the alleged victim has a different story, they may be able to report the incident to prosecute the person responsible.

When there is a disagreement between the defendant and alleged 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 consistent with casual sex.

Some of the issues that may be investigated include:

  • The testimony of any witnesses who saw the alleged offender or victim before or after the incident in question;
  • The time, if at all, that the victim filed a police report; and
  • The review of any statements made on social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

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 defendant’s actions were committed without the consent of the alleged victim.

If a jury has any doubt about whether the victim consented to the sexual activity, it can result in the defendant receiving a not-guilty verdict.

Contact Pumphrey Law Firm if you or someone you know has been accused of sexual battery in Florida. This is a crime that is prosecuted harshly, so finding reliable legal representation should be your top priority.

Back to top

Age of Consent Crimes in Leon County

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 ages of both the alleged offender and victim plays important roles in determining the grade of crime when a person is accused of sexual battery.

Some other criminal offenses that a person in Florida may face prosecution for engaging in sexual acts with minors include:

  • Lewd or Lascivious Battery Under Florida Statute Section 800.04(4), it is a second-degree felony for a person to engage in sexual activity with a person between the ages of 12-16. This offense also prohibits a person from encouraging, forcing, or enticing another person younger than 16 to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity. An offender who has been previously convicted of this crime faces a first-degree felony.
  • Lewd or Lascivious MolestationFlorida Statute Section 800.04(5) establishes that a person who intentionally touches someone younger than 16 on the breasts, genitals, genital area, buttocks, or the clothing covering them, in a lewd or lascivious manner, or who forces or entices a person under 16 to so touch them can face charges for lewd or lascivious molestation.
    • If the offender is less than 18 years of age and the victim is 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age, then the crime is charged as third-degree felony.
    • If the offender is less than 18 years of age and the alleged victim is less than 12 years of age, or the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older and the victim is 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age, then the crime is a second-degree felony. Although the crime can become a first-degree felony if the offender has been previously convicted of an enumerated offense in the statute.
    • If the offender is 18 years of age or older and the alleged victim is less than 12 years of age, lewd or lascivious molestation is a life felony punishable by life in prison.
  • Lewd or Lascivious Conduct Under Florida Statute Section 800.04(6), a person can be charged with lewd or lascivious conduct for intentionally touching a person younger than 16 in an inappropriate manner, or who solicits a person under 16 to commit a lewd or lascivious act. The offense is a third-degree felonyif the defendant is younger than 18 years-old and a second-degree felony if the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older.
  • Traveling To Meet a Minor Florida Statute Section 847.0135(4) establishes that a person is prohibited from traveling any distance either within this state, to this state, or from this state by any means, to commit or attempt to commit any illegal acts described in Chapter 794, Chapter 800, or Chapter 827, or to otherwise engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a child. A person can also face criminal prosecution for using a computer or any online service or transmission to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child to engage in any illegal act or to otherwise engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a child. These cases often involve undercover stings, where the person believed by the defendant to be a child is an undercover police officer.
  • Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors Florida Statute Section 794.05 explains it is a second-degree felonyfor a person 24 years of age or older to engage in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17-old. In these cases, the alleged victim’s prior sexual conduct is not relevant.

The Consequences of Consent Crimes

When an individual is charged with a sex crime that has arguments over consent, there are a multitude of penalties that can come with a conviction. Depending on the specific details of the case, the defendant could face the potential of a life or capital felony. These are the most severe sex crime cases, where the alleged victim is a child under the age of 12.

Additionally, a person who is convicted of certain sex crimes will be required to register as a sex offender. The registry is public record, meaning anyone can view the person’s designation as a sex offender. This type of registration can haunt you for the rest of your life, making it difficult to maintain relationships, secure a decent living situation, or even find a stable job. This is why working alongside a defense attorney who has sufficient experience representing sexual offenses is imperative to cases where the evidence surrounds consent. Contact Pumphrey Law to receive a free case evaluation to go over the details of the alleged incident.

Consent as a Defense

While the prosecution will be building their case against a defendant accused of a sex crime, an experienced defense attorney should be reviewing all the case details and searching for inconsistencies with the evidence or witness statements.

In some cases, consent can be used as a defense to a sex crime allegation. For instance, if the alleged victim and defendant had messages that explicitly stated their plans for sexual activity and the victim’s written consent, a defense attorney can argue that consent was given.

However, it is once again important to point out that certain individuals cannot consent at any time. For example, cases that involve alleged victims who are under the age of 18 or are deemed mentally incapacitated cannot give consent to any sexual activity, therefore ruling out this method as a defense.

Another potential defense is the “Romeo and Juliet” law, which allows a person between the ages of 14 and 17 to legally consent to sex with another person who is no more than four years (1,460 days) older than them. You can read more about the Romeo and Juliet law here.

If you have questions regarding the charges against you and the potential defense strategies that may be available to you, contact an attorney with Pumphrey Law Firm.

Back to top

Consent Resources in Florida

  • What Consent Looks Like | Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) – RAINN is an anti-sexual violence organization that claims to have helped more than 2.5 million people since 1994. They created and operated the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,100 local sexual assault service providers across the country. You can learn more about what consent is, how consent works in real life, and what positive consent looks like.
  • Rape and Sexual Consent | Information for Teens – Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is a nonprofit organization providing reproductive health care in the United States. This page of Planned Parenthood’s site discusses why consent matters, what consent looks like, and how to give There are also links included that provide helpful information for rape victims.

Back to top

Pumphrey Law | Tallahassee Sex Crime Defense Attorney

If you are under investigation or have already been arrested for an alleged sex crime in North Florida, it is in your best interest to refuse any statements with the authorities until you have obtained legal counsel. Pumphrey Law represents residents and visitors who are falsely accused of sex crimes in Jefferson County, Liberty County, Wakulla County, Leon County, and Gadsden County.

Don Pumphrey and his team understand how stressful these types of accusations can be for a person. A conviction for a crime surrounding consent can lead to a long road of repercussions, along with the stigma of being a convicted sex offender. The criminal defense lawyers in Tallahassee with Pumphrey Law Firm vow to work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome for your case. 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.


Page Updated February 6, 2024

Back to Top