When you hear the word “rape,” you may immediately conjure up an image of a violent, forceful assault that leaves little room for interpretation as to the motive of an accused perpetrator. Yet while many may share the assumption, the law actually assigns a much broader definition to the crime. This is why many have come to us here at Frank, Juengel & Radefeld Attorneys at Law so surprised when they find themselves accused of this offense. You may currently be experiencing the same shock after similar accusations have surfaced from what you may have believed to be a completely consensual encounter.
Missouri has established different degrees of rape. First-degree rape is defined as being similar to what was described at the beginning of this post. Instances were one engaged in sexual intercourse with an incapacitated person or a person unable to give consent also are included in this category. Yet in defining second-degree rape, Section 566.031 of Missouri’s state statutes says that such an offense occurs if you have a sexual encounter with a person that you know has not given their consent. This potentially opens up the door for interpretation on what exactly “consent” means.
Unfortunately, the state does not offer a legal definition of consent. It may simply suffice to define it as permission. Should sexual advances be met with a “no,” then little room for interpreting one’s wishes may exist. Yet what if your partner offers no objection? Could they then later say that they never consented to your advances? While some argue that verbal cues may imply a lack of consent, your honest belief that your partner gave no indication that they did not approve of your actions may counter that.
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