Consent in Sexual Battery Cases: What It Means and How It Is Determined

Sexual battery cases are notorious for being difficult and harsh for the accused but they can also be some of the most complex cases because of the factor of consent. If you have an explicitly consensual sexual encounter with someone, and suddenly face a charge of sexual battery or rape, what do you do? All of a sudden, you are facing a severe charge with life-changing consequences without having committed the crime.

Your best bet to being able to handle this charge and defend yourself is by contacting the best Tampa sexual battery attorneys. The Rickman Law Firm knows how to be able to determine consent in sexual battery cases and will help you prove mutual consent.

What Is Sexual Battery?

According to Florida statutes, sexual battery is “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object…without that person’s consent.” 

If the victim is unable to give consent to a sexual encounter, whether it be that the consent was purposefully not given or that they were deemed mentally incapacitated, by way of substances influencing mental states – especially not under their own will –, then it is considered sexual battery under the Florida court of law.

What Is Consent?

Consent is easier to define than it is to argue in court; your Tampa sexual battery lawyer will ensure that you understand the legal definition of it as you navigate a sexual battery charge. Simply put, consent is the voluntary, mutual agreement to engage in sexual activities. For a person to legally give consent, the law requires that that person is not a minor and has both the mental and the physical capacity to do so without having been coerced or threatened into agreeing, and with the intelligent knowledge of voluntary consent. Consent can also be withdrawn at any time, making it more difficult to argue in court. Additionally, Florida statutes specify that the absence of physical resistance does not imply the giving of consent.

How Is Consent Determined in Sexual Battery Cases in Florida?

Because consent is the cornerstone of sexual battery cases, especially in Florida, it needs to be heavily substantiated in the argument from your Tampa sexual battery lawyer. Consent can be proven through the means of standard trial proceedings, including evidence and testimonies. For it to be determined as whole-heartedly, consensually, and voluntarily given – or not – the prosecution and defense need to prove without a shadow of a doubt that there either was or was not consent.

Physical evidence is the means by which consent can be determined scientifically. Items and clothing that have been tampered with, broken, ripped, or affected in any unusual way can also determine a degree of consent. Physical evidence might include:

  • Injuries, including bruising
  • Bodily fluids
  • DNA samples
  • Blood alcohol testing
  • Drug testing
  • Broken glass, furniture, or any other items
  • Clothing, whether intact or torn up

Testimonies during the trial proceedings and initial evidence-gathering period can also withstand in court when determining consent. Sometimes, determining whether consent was properly, and legally given can turn into an abstract conversation in a court of law, especially with spoken, written, and implied consent all being substantial forms of consent. When the victim gives their testimony in court, it holds a lot of weight in the deliberation.  Conversely, whether the victim claims to remember whether or not consent was provided will also hold its own in court.

Witness testimonies and statements are also used to determine the victim’s consent in a court of law. Witness testimonies can include statements about the demeanor of both the victim and the defendant before and after the incident and responses to statements that were made by both the defendant and victim in court as to whether there was a degree of consent.

What Can Affect Consent Ruling?

There are many factors and pieces of evidence and facts that can have an altering effect on consent rulings. When facing sexual battery charges, your Tampa sexual battery attorney will sit and walk through these factors with you so that you can understand anything that can have an effect on your defense strategy or the possible one that the prosecution has.

A critical factor to remember when discussing consent in sexual battery cases in Florida is the age of consent. Any minor, or person under the age of 18, cannot legally give consent, even if it was explicitly provided. Therefore, any person under the age of 18 when the sexual battery incident occurred will be tried using this factor of age.

The other factors and facts that can affect consent ruling may include:

  • If the alleged victim was physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to give consent, especially if they were under the influence of drugs and or alcohol, and if the defendant was claimed to have had knowledge of another party administering the drugs or alcohol
  • If the victim was physically helpless against the defendant
  • If the defendant claimed to coerce the victim to submit to sexual advances through the use of force and or violence
  • If the defendant was claimed to coerce the victim into submitting to sexual advances through threats to retaliate against them in the future

Ensure That You Are Protected With The Leading Sex Crime Defense Attorneys in Tampa

If you’ve been falsely accused of sexual battery following a consensual encounter, it is crucial that you immediately speak with an expert sex crime defense attorney. If not properly navigated or dealt with, the issue of consent on your sexual battery charge could have undeserved, harsh, life-altering consequences on you.

Trust the Tampa sex crime defense attorneys at The Rickman Law Firm with your sexual battery case, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact our office at any point by calling us at 813-999-0502 or fill out our consultation form for one of our attorneys to reach out to you soon. 


Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.


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