Role of Consent in Columbia Sexual Assault Cases

Consent in a sexual assault case means that a person does not oppose or disagree in any way with any type of sexual contact. They have fully, knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered into that kind of social contract with someone to have sex. One of the issues that comes up about consent in some sexual assault cases, is the two people have a relationship together, have a prior relationship, and are friends or at least acquaintances. There may be some type of substance involved, such as alcohol or drugs, and a person is intoxicated, but the jury has to determine whether the person was intoxicated to such amount that they were not able to consent to a sexual act.

If you were accused of sexual assault in Columbia, you need legal help. Speak to a sex crimes attorney to learn about the role of consent in Columbia sexual assault cases.

The Age Of Consent In Columbia

What Is The Role Of Verbal Consent When Defending Statutory Charges?

Verbal consent, whether written or oral, is irrelevant because someone under the age of 17 cannot consent to a sexual act in any way, shape, or form, even if the person technically did consent. The minor child is prohibited by law from consenting and the adult is essentially in strict liability and is on notice that a minor cannot consent to a sexual act.

In some cases, it is possible for a defense attorney to use legal consent as a defense strategy. If the minor child lied or manipulated the defendant about their age and the defendant had a reasonable belief based on the misrepresentation that the child was an adult, that may be used in their defense. But, if someone is a minor child, they cannot use legal consent as a defense.

What Physical Or Mental State Is An Individual Incapable Of Giving Consent?

Many times, a person can be in a state, mentally or physically, in which they are unable to think rationally and clearly, they are impaired to such a point that they are unable to consent. That would be a factual issue for a jury, which would have to determine whether a person was in a position of a mental or physical state not to be able to provide consent.

How Drugs And Alcohol Can Disable An Individual From Giving Consent

A person could ultimately be so intoxicated by alcohol or drugs that they are unable to think rationally or make decisions on a proper basis, and juries often have to determine the level of intoxication and credibility issues. Often, someone is in a dating situation that results in date-rape accusations, and the only evidence is that they were intoxicated and unable to give consent or defend themselves, and that comes down to the credibility of the two parties involved.

Impaired By a Mental Illness Or Disability

If a person is intellectually disabled or has a mental illness, there is no consent on its face, they are not legally able to consent, and a person who has a sexual relationship with them could be arrested and charged for it.

Evidence Used To Establish The Level Of Intoxication

The solicitor’s office or the prosecutor would have to try to find out what substance was consumed, whether alcohol or drugs, generally through a blood test, a urine test, or some type of other test done at the hospital or law enforcement. They will want to see what was in the accuser’s system to determine what drugs or alcohol were involved, but the efficacy of those tests depends on how much time has elapsed. In that case, the prosecutor would have to rely on other evidence, asking witnesses how much they saw that person have to drink, what drinks they had, whether they were at a bar, and if so, receipts.

Role Of The Prosecutor

A prosecutor, under the American Bar Association ethics rules, has the ethical duty in a case to review the evidence on an impartial basis or try to review the evidence with as much impartiality as possible to determine whether there is enough evidence. And, they must be able to prove it beyond a reasonable for that specific charge if they take it to trial and whether they should reduce the charge to a more appropriate offense or whether it should be dismissed entirely based on the evidence or lack thereof. That would be based on the credibility of witnesses, physical and forensic evidence or the nonexistence of it, and inconsistencies, witness statements, and overall problems with the state’s evidence.

It is being somewhat of a supervisor of law enforcement’s legality of doing a proper search or seizure, whether the tactics used were constitutional in obtaining a statement or evidence. They have the ability to review the evidence and determine whether those things were done legally following the Constitution or whether there is a problem with the admissibility of that evidence based on possible constitutional violations.

Retain The Services of An Experienced Sexual Assault Attorney

Sexual assault cases are treated very seriously and prosecuted aggressively by the solicitor’s office and an accused faces jail or prison time, and basically everything is at stake, so an individual would want an experienced sexual assault attorney. You should seek help from a lawyer who has experience defending that type of charge, who can provide the best defense possible, and can conduct an independent, thorough investigation of the charge. The seasoned defense attorney has learned from previous cases what to do, has seen the tactics used by law enforcement and the prosecutors to obtain a conviction and knows the role of consent in Columbia sexual assault cases. Call today to start building your defense.