How Does Florida Law Define Consent?
The issue of consent constantly comes up in the news, and in courtrooms throughout Florida. Consent is a main issue in sexual assault and battery cases and it is important that everyone in the state knows the law. When people do not understand the concept of consent, they may be charged with a crime that comes with very serious consequences.
How is Consent Defined in Florida?
Florida law very clearly defines consent. Under the statute, consent is defined as voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently providing permission for a sexual act to occur. The law also states that coerced submission does not fall under the legal definition of consent.
Florida law tries to protect victims by clearly stating that victims of sexual assault do not have to make an attempt to escape, or try to resist their aggressor. The intention of this is to help victims prove their case, even if they did not consent but also complied with their aggressor, particularly if they felt fearful of resisting.
Although the law may favor alleged victims, it also makes it much more difficult to defend a sexual assault case, in some instances. For example, a person may think they have been given consent to perform a sexual act because another person did not specifically say ‘no’ or try to escape the situation. If the alleged victim testifies that they felt pressured or coerced into the act, a defendant could still be convicted of sexual assault.
Individuals that Cannot Provide Consent
Florida law is also very clear about the fact that some people cannot provide consent. Individuals that are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for example, cannot always give consent to a sexual act. If a person was voluntarily intoxicated and provided consent, they likely cannot accuse someone of sexual assault. However, if a person was involuntarily intoxicated and then provided consent, the court will deem that they did not have the capacity to consent to a sexual act.
Certain individuals also never have the capacity to provide consent, such as disabled individuals. The law is very clear about this and, if a person engages in a sexual act with someone that is not considered to have the mental capacity to provide consent, the penalties are even harsher.
Lastly, a person that is physically helpless cannot provide consent. This includes people that are sleeping, unconscious, or that are otherwise unable to provide consent.
Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers can Help with Your Charges
It is important that all states, including Florida, have strict laws in place regarding consent and sexual assault. Still, innocent people are charged every day and when that is the case, you need the help of a Port St. Lucie criminal lawyer. At Eighmie Law Firm, P.A., our experienced attorneys know the defenses to sexual assault charges and will use them to give you the best chance of getting your charges dismissed. Call us today at (772) 905-8692 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.