In this modern age, it’s impossible to discuss an individual’s inherent rights without talking about consent in regard to sexual encounters. Consent, in general, is defined as permission for something to happen or agreement to do something, but you already knew that. However, what you may not know is how Georgia defines consent regarding sexual encounters. Therefore, let’s take a look at what Georgia law defines as consent.
Consent & Georgia Law
Interestingly, Georgia doesn’t have an affirmative definition of consent. However, Georgia’s criminal law does define what consent isn’t.
Georgia law defines “without consent” as a “person whose concurrence is required has not, with knowledge of the essential facts, voluntarily yielded to the proposal of the accused or of another.”
There are a few essential parts to this definition, so let’s take a deeper look at each aspect on its own.
“Knowledge of the Essential Facts”
Consent in Georgia requires a participant to know the essential facts of the sexual encounter.
Determining if a fact is “essential” requires extensive legal knowledge, but examples of debated essential facts include:
- Where it will take place;
- The methodology of the encounter;
- Who will be participating; and
- If it will be recorded or otherwise documented.
It’s important to note that someone who cannot grasp the essential facts of the encounter cannot consent. Under this definition, it is illegal to have sexual relations with someone who is mentally handicapped to the point that they cannot understand the act. Additionally, anyone who is asleep, unconscious, or otherwise mentally incapacitated cannot consent to a sexual act.
Where “grasping the essential facts” gets tricky is when you think about intoxicating substances. Alcohol and drugs impact one’s ability to understand the situation at hand, so at what point does a good time turn into a criminal act?
Well, it could be argued that if both parties are drunk or otherwise under the influence, both parties could be criminally charged for sexual misconduct. Additionally, it could be argued that one’s own alcohol-induced impairment lowered inhibitions to the point that he or she could not grasp the “essential facts” as they usually would.
As you can see, one’s ability to understand the “essential facts” is highly debated, and every situation is different. If you or a loved one are accused of sexual misconduct, it’s essential to talk to a highly skilled Atlanta sex crime attorney about your case.
If a participant has knowledge of the essential facts, then the act is one step closer to being consensual. However, another crucial piece of a consensual encounter is that it’s voluntary.
A consensual sexual encounter is a voluntary one. Most people believe involuntary sex stems from physical restraint only, but that’s not necessarily true.
Coercive sex, or sex that results from fear of harm or harm to another person, is not consensual. Additionally, certain power dynamics (therapist-client, officer-citizen, etc.) create circumstances were a sexual relationship would be considered illegal, even if both parties consented to the act.
Have You Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct?
As you can see, determining consent is more difficult than many people realize. In fact, some people may partake in nonconsensual sex without even knowing it (if both parties are intoxicated). Therefore, if you or a loved one is accused of sexual misconduct, you should talk to a knowledgeable sex crimes attorney as soon as you can.
Call (678) 582-2272 now for a free consultation concerning your sex crimes case.