When the Mud Clears: Avoiding Date Rape Accusations and Sexual Assault Charges

Every day, there are thousands of “hook-ups” around the nation and while most of the time, they end in a walk of shame or repeat rendezvous, there are a good portion that also turns into regret or a misunderstanding that lands one party being accused of a heinous crime. When it comes to sexual encounters and what is and what is not appropriate, the water can get a little cloudy and may be difficult to understand. To help you avoid a detrimental charge on your record, we would like to help shed some light on the topic of date rape and what could potentially land you in hot water.

1. Dating does not imply an obligation.

One of the biggest defenses we hear is that the accused perpetrator was not aware that you could be charged with rape or sexual assault with someone that they were in a consensual relationship — spouse, partner, casual lover. However, it does not matter if you have been married for 36 years or if you just met 36 hours ago, “no” is the revocation of consent and any act sexual act afterward can be charged as sexual assault. If your partner says “no” at any point, do not advance. There is no legal sexual obligation in a relationship.

2. Drunken regret vs. incapacitated.

Alcohol consumption makes everything a bit more tricky. It is true that if a “hook-up” occurs when someone says “yes” may seem legitimate, if either party is drunk, they are legally not able to provide consent. If a party is blacked out at the time and does not remember giving consent the next morning, the other party can be charged with sexual assault. It is best to keep drinking to a minimum if your intention is to engage in sexual activity with someone. If they are drunk, it is best to wait until the next encounter when they can consent.

3. Don’t mix business with pleasure.

Another common grey area is when consenting co-workers engage in a sexual act. While this may seem perfectly fine when it involves two consenting adults, it can quickly turn ugly. Not only does the drama surrounding a sexual relationship gone wrong make work an uncomfortable environment, it gets even trickier if the co-workers are not in the same role. If one party is a supervisor, it does not matter if the other party seduced the supervisor, this is still seen as coercion and exploitation of authority and can be charged as aggravated sexual assault since the supervisor is in a position of power. To avoid this, it is always best to never mix business and pleasure and keep sexual relationships outside of the workplace.

4. Underage, unable to consent.

The law is clear when it comes to statutory rape. Persons who are 15 years or younger are unable to consent to any sexual act in the state of Ohio. This means that if someone is 15 years, 11 months, and 29 days and seduces someone who is of age, the older person can be charged with statutory rape or sexual abuse of a child and held to strictest punishments the law affords. The law makes it clear that not knowing that the person is underage is not a valid excuse. Before you engage in a sexual act, it is best to confirm the person’s age beforehand to avoid any criminal sexual charges.

5. Don’t record and share the experience.

If you do have consensual sex with someone who is capable of consenting, but you record the act, you can be charged with the crime of voyeurism or unlawful surveillance. If you share the footage with someone else, especially on social media or the internet, the charges and punishment can be escalated. It is best practice to keep your sexual encounters to yourself, and if you would like to record them, to get the other party’s consent to do so.

6. Lack of resistance does not imply consent.

This is the one that gets most people — “well, they didn’t try to stop it!” A simple lack of resistance does not imply consent and a party may make allegations of sexual assault if they did not expressly give permission. Rape or sexual battery are terms used when sex was performed with force and against the victim’s will. However, sexual assault can be charged in any situation where there was a lack of consent or the ability to consent. This means that if at the end of your date, you kiss your date and attempt to take things further, their passive involvement does not mean a green light to take things all the way. It is in your best interest to directly ask the other party if they would like to have sex with you. If the answer is anything but a wholehearted “yes!” — “I guess,” “if you want to,” “maybe we should take it slow” — leave it at a kiss and end the evening.

Any sex crime charge can be detrimental to your record and your reputation. If you have been charged with a sex crime in Ohio, you need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer to represent you before charges escalate. Contact the legal team at Probst Law Office for your consultation today! For more information on avoiding rape charges in Ohio, read our legal article here.