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4 Elements of Sexual Consent

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The Lone Star State makes it a crime to have sex with another person against his or her will. You could be charged with a crime if you fail to obtain consent before engaging in sexual activity. So what constitutes consent? There are actually four elements of it that must be met in order for sex to be considered consensual.

1) Answer Must Be “Yes”

Your partner must express a desire to engage in sexual activity with you by stating so in the affirmative. That person cannot simply say “maybe” or “possibly”-their answer has to be a definite “yes”. The fact that they fail to emit a firm “no” does not render consent under any circumstances.

2) Some People Cannot Consent

Even if you do get a “yes” answer, you may not actually have consent to perform sex. That’s because Texas law recognizes that certain people are incapable of consenting to sex. This means that even if they verbally agree, it is still not considered consent. A few categories of people that meet these criteria include:

  • Children under the age of 16
  • Individuals who are unaware of their surroundings due to drug or alcohol consumption
  • Those who have been given a “date rape” drug
  • Unconscious persons
  • Mentally ill or handicapped individuals who do not completely understand the concept of sex

3) Prior Involvement Does Not Count

Just because you have had sexual relations with someone in the past does not give you a green light to have sexual relations with that person again. Each time you engage in sexual activity, you must obtain consent, regardless of what has happened in the past. This is true whether or not actual penetration occurs, as you must also obtain permission for each level of progression each and every time as well. Any time you are told “no” or to stop, your permission to continue has just been halted, and you could face significant consequences if you continue anyway.

4) You Must Know If You Have Consent

It is your responsibility to know whether or not you have consent to perform certain activities. You cannot just assume that because the other person is not resisting physically or verbally that you have permission to continue. It is also your responsibility to determine that the person you are involved with is actually capable of giving consent; otherwise, you have also broken the law.

Many people find themselves in trouble with the law because they were unaware of the elements of consent. Keep these four rules in mind, and you can avoid criminal charges that stand to threaten your freedom and reputation. If you have failed to follow these four rules or are being accused of not obtaining consent, then you need professional legal consultation immediately. Get a hold of Brett A. Podolsky today by calling 713.227.0087.

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