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New Indiana law aims to define consent in rape cases

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2022 | Sexual Offenses

Being charged with rape under Indiana law is a serious offense. If convicted, you face major penalties, including fines and imprisonment, and you will have to register as a sex offender.

These things can ruin your entire life. Even just an accusation of rape can cause you to lose your career, destroy your marriage or relationship and permanently damage your reputation.

What is rape?

Rape is defined as engaging in sexual activity with someone without their consent. The major consequences of a rape accusation or conviction mean that it is crucial to understand what consent means.

Indiana recently passed a law to attempt to further define consent. The law, which went into effect on July 1, 2022, expanded the definition of consent.

What is the new definition of consent?

It is now illegal to participate in sexual activity with someone who has physically or verbally communicated that they do not want it.

Indiana’s previous rape law assumed consent was given unless the alleged victim did not know what was happening or could not give consent because they were disabled.

Additionally, sexual activity could be classified as rape only if the alleged perpetrator used force or threat of force.

Complexities of the new consent law

This new definition of consent leaves much more room for gray areas. There is now a great deal of emphasis placed on the alleged victim’s words and actions.

It is generally understood that “no means no,” but what happens if someone says they are “not sure” they want to partake in the sexual activity, but does anyway?

Actions can be even harder to interpret. For example, what if someone lightly brushes off someone’s hand on them, but then later follows through with a sexual act? Under the new law, they could now claim they were raped.

You may find yourself charged with rape when you truly believed the sexual encounter was consensual. Therefore, it is important to vigorously defend yourself against rape charges. Criminal defense attorneys know the nuances of the law and can fight on your behalf.