Recently, the topic of “consent” in connection with sexual activities has been thrust into the national spotlight in a variety of cases, including those that have taken place in California. Because the topic of consent has evolved significantly in California during the past few years, it is important to take a closer look at what this means right now. Remember that if you have questions or concerns about consent, you should reach out to a sexual assault attorney in California for more information.
Consent Involving Children
In 2015, the California state legislature passed Senate Bill No. 14 (SB-14). This bill prohibits the “consent” defense in a civil lawsuit when the adult has a position of authority over the minor. Examples of authority positions include parents, babysitters, doctors, teachers, religious leaders, and others. The “consent” defense refers to someone saying they did not assault that person because the other person gave consent.
Even though children under the age of 18 cannot give consent under criminal law, court rulings prior to the passage of this bill had found that a child under the age of 18 could give consent in civil cases, creating a troubling double-standard that was rectified through this bill.
Consent Involving Adults
In cases involving adults, the law is very black and white. If there is no mutual consent to engage in a particular sexual activity, then a sexual assault has necessarily taken place. Individuals defending themselves against such charges usually provide an affirmative defense, saying that the plaintiff had indeed provided consent.
What does consent mean? In this situation, consent is defined as the “positive cooperation in act or attitude” as it relates to the activity taking place. While showing resistance is a sign of withdrawing consent, a lack of resistance does not mean consent. What might ineffective consent look like?
Examples of Ineffective Consent
There are several common examples of misconstrued or misinterpreted situations that are NOT examples of consent. These include:
- If that person does not have the capacity to consent, then that person cannot give consent.
- If that person does not have the capacity to understand the actions taking place, that person cannot give consent.
- Consent is not given if that consent was fraudulently obtained, such as someone misrepresenting one action as something else.
- Consent given to one action does not mean consent is given to all actions.
Because consent is such an important topic, it is important to rely on a trained California sexual assault attorney for help in these circumstances.
Rely on an Experienced California Sexual Assault Attorney
It is important for you to understand what consent is and what it is not. Because California has seen some changes in recent years related to its sexual assault laws, you should rely on an experienced attorney for help. At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. we always place the needs of our clients ahead of our own. We will be with you every step of the way, making sure that all of your needs are met. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.