Call Today 803.359.3301
How Is Consensual Sex Defined in Criminal Court?

How Is Consensual Sex Defined in Criminal Court?

How Is Consent Defined in Criminal Court?

In South Carolina, it’s illegal to have sexual relations with another person without their consent. Unfortunately, consensual sex can be a very complicated issue to prove in criminal court.

Many people are accused of engaging in nonconsensual sex even when the contact may have been consensual, often leading to sex crime charges and even a criminal conviction. This can lead to a lot of confusion and misunderstanding for all involved, but more importantly, it can lead to life-altering consequences for the defendant.

It’s essential to hire an experienced legal advocate who can defend your rights and fight to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Keep reading to learn more about consent in South Carolina.

Understanding Consensual Sex in South Carolina

In legal terms, consensual sex is defined as a voluntary agreement between two adults regarding their mutual desire to engage in intimate contact or sexual relations. In order for consent to be considered valid, all involved parties must have the capacity to understand and agree to the activity.

To legally consent to sexual activity in South Carolina, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • They are at least 16 years of age
  • They were unimpaired by drugs
  • They were unimpaired by alcohol
  • They were not coerced or forced

Keep in mind that minors do not have the capacity to give legally valid consent, meaning that anyone who sexually engages with a person under the age of 16 can face criminal charges regardless of whether the younger party agreed or not.

Proving Consensual Sex in Criminal Cases

When it comes to proving consensual sex in court, there are various factors that must be taken into consideration. It's important for defendants to provide sufficient evidence that shows proof of understanding and agreement regarding the sexual activity. The best evidence typically comes from witnesses who were present when the activity took place and can testify on behalf of both parties that they appeared to be engaged willingly and happily during the experience.

Virtual communications, such as texts, emails, or online messages, can also serve as valuable evidence so long as they explicitly state that each individual voluntarily agreed to the sexual activity. If there is a lack of evidence, establishing whether the sexual activity was consensual or not will be left to the judge to decide, making it all the more crucial to secure strong representation from a trusted criminal defense attorney.

Establishing Consent as a Legal Defense

Consent is an integral component of our criminal justice system that should always be taken seriously. Defendants accused of nonconsensual sex can reap severe legal repercussions in South Carolina, including prison time, hefty fines, and lifelong registration as a sex offender.

In criminal cases involving allegations of nonconsensual sex, consent can sometimes be used as a successful legal defense. In South Carolina, criminal defense lawyers can use consent to argue that the sexual activity in question was agreed to by both parties and done so willingly. When used effectively, consent can be a very powerful legal strategy to reduce or drop criminal charges altogether, so long as the evidence supports the defendant’s claim that the sex was consensual.

In sex crime cases, the burden of proof lies with the defendant, meaning that they bear the responsibility of proving that all parties voluntarily consented to the sexual activity. While this can be extremely challenging to accomplish without witnesses or other forms of tangible evidence, it isn’t impossible. Hiring the right attorney is critical to be successful in court, as your lawyer can use their in-depth knowledge of criminal law to defend your rights and restore your freedom.

Despite how difficult it can be, proving consensual sex in court is essential to protecting your hard-earned reputation and defending your rights. A qualified legal advocate can negotiate on your behalf to reduce or dismiss the charges against you, in addition to fortifying your case with necessary evidence. By gathering adequate evidence and securing dependable legal representation from a criminal defense lawyer, defendants can ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are protected under the law.

Turn to a Trusted Lexington Criminal Defense Attorney

Since 2004, the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC has successfully defended the rights of the accused in South Carolina. Our accomplished criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in various criminal cases, from driver’s license suspension to probation violations.

When you partner with our passionate legal team, you can count on us to provide the aggressive representation you deserve in court. Rest assured that our dedicated attorneys will fight tirelessly to restore your freedom throughout each step of the process. Reach out to our office to learn how we can help you clear your good name.

Sex crimes carry harsh penalties if convicted. If you’re facing criminal charges in South Carolina, it’s imperative to seek strong representation to protect your future. Call (803) 359-3301 to request a free consultation.


Get Started Today

We're Available to Schedule Immediate, Same-Day Consultations
    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.