If a person you have had romantic relations with accuses you of sexual assault, you likely need to figure out how to defend yourself. One defense option you can consider is consent. While consent is a strong defense in a sexual assault case, you need to prove certain elements for this defense to hold.
For an act to amount to sexual assault, the intercourse must have happened against your accuser’s permission and possibly by force. That said, here are three things you need to know about consent and sexual assault:
No means no
Before engaging in a sexual activity, your partner must affirmatively express the desire to do so. “Maybe” and “possibly” do not amount to consent. And if they say “no”, anything that happens thereafter can amount to an assault.
Some people cannot consent
Even if the other party says “yes”, you will still be breaking the law if you have sex with them. This is because Michigan law recognizes that some people do not have the capacity to consent to sexual activity. Here are instances when you can get in trouble even when the other party says “yes.”
- If they are under 16
- If they are intoxicated or on medication or other substance that makes them unaware of their surroundings
- If they are unconscious
- If they are handicapped or mentally ill
Prior contacts do not count
Just because you had sex with someone previously does not mean that you can have sex with them whenever you want to. In other words, every single sexual contact must be consented to.
Being accused of any form of sexual assault can be frightening, to say the least. Find out how you can protect your rights and defend yourself when charged with sexual assault.