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Can someone withdraw consent to a sexual encounter?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2022 | Sex Offenses

You know that it’s very important to get someone’s consent before engaging in a sexual relationship with them. When you meet someone on a night out, and you feel like things may progress in this direction, you’re very careful to ask them if that’s what they want. You don’t want to do anything that is against their wishes, as you know that would be a violation of their rights. 

But what if they change their mind? What if they decide, in the middle of the encounter, that they actually don’t want to continue? Can they withdraw their consent, and are you still guilty of a crime if you do not listen to them? Or are you protected, in a legal sense, from the fact that they gave you consent initially? 

Charges can result if consent is withdrawn 

If someone withdraws consent, you could face criminal charges if you do not do as they ask. You have to respect their wishes, and continuing when they don’t want you to could result in allegations of sexual assault or even rape. 

However, this doesn’t mean that anything that happened before they withdrew their consent was illegal. They can’t tell you the next day that they actually decided they didn’t want to have that encounter after the fact and then accuse you of wrongdoing. At that time, you did have consent. You just have to be wary that they can withdraw it if they want to, but it only impacts future events. 

If you are facing serious charges after this type of encounter, you need to know about all of your legal defense options. The results of your case could dramatically impact your future.