What Is and Is Not Legal Consent in Indiana?

Consent is the act of giving permission or agreement to something. In legal terms regarding sex, it refers to a person’s voluntary and informed agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent requires that the person giving it has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the activity and has not been coerced or deceived into giving their agreement.

If you face allegations over sexual consent in Indiana, you need to contact Criminal Defense Trial Attorney Matthew W. Chapel as soon as possible. Any allegations regarding consent are serious and can incur some of the strongest penalties under the law. Schedule a free consultation now.

Understanding Elements of Legal Consent

Age is only one factor in the broad category of legal consent. Indiana law establishes the legal age for sexual consent at 16, but other critical elements are also involved:

1.      Sexual consent is the voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.

2.      It must be an informed, affirmative, and conscious decision made by each participant and should be freely given without coercion, force, or intimidation.

3.      Consent is also an ongoing process that can be withdrawn or reversed at any time during a sexual encounter.

4.      Clear communication helps ensure that all parties are willing participants and comfortable with the activity.

5.      Body language is often a key indicator of a person’s comfort level and continuing consent; however, physiological responses do not always indicate consent.

Consent is not a one-time agreement; it requires continuous communication. It is important to ensure that your partner is always on the same page. Remember, they have the right to revoke consent at any time, even if you are in a long-term relationship or married. It is crucial that both partners give their consent before engaging in sexual activities or changing the type of activity.

Non-Consensual Sexual Activity in Indiana

It’s important to understand that lack of consent doesn’t just refer to when someone says “no” to sexual activity. It also includes situations where a person uses intimidation or threats to force another person into sexual activity, even if that person eventually agrees to it. This is because true consent can only come from a freely given agreement, not from fear or pressure.

“No,” “Stop,” and “I don’t want to do this” are clear examples of verbal non-consent, but there are other ways to express this, too. The following situations are also examples of non-consent:

·        Refusing to take “no” for an answer

·        Engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent

·        Proceeding with sexual activity despite your partner looking upset or uncomfortable

·        Assuming you have consent to engage in a sexual activity because your partner consented to it in the past

·        Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is intoxicated, impaired, or otherwise incapacitated

·        Assuming a person wants to engage in sexual activity because of the clothing they are wearing, or flirtatious activity

If there is any doubt or question regarding consent, avoid sexual activity and have a conversation with your partner.

Legal Penalties for Non-Consent

Non-consent penalties in Indiana are strict. You could be charged with rape, sexual battery, sexual misconduct with a minor, or even child molestation. Offenses range from level 1 to level 6 felonies with between six months and 40 years in prison, plus stiff fines. It is obviously in your best interest to have clear consent before and during engaging in any sexual activity.

Criminal Defense Trial Attorney Matt Chapel can answer more questions and legal consent in a free confidential consultation at his Fort Wayne law office. Contact him today to learn more or if you are facing legal non-consent allegations in Indiana.


If you have questions about a matter that is pending before a court in Northeast Indiana or Northwest Ohio, contact Matt Chapel immediately. Call Matt at 260-387-6236 or email him at matt@mattchapellaw.com.

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