Consent can be a defense to sex crimes, if the person involved was over the age of consent, was conscious, and wanted the sexual contact, for example.
However, consent is only a defense to some, limited statutory rape cases where the child and young adult are around the same age.
Indiana has nine statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state.
While some cases are fairly straightforward, others hinge on specific evidence and the reliability of witness testimony.
If you have been charged with sexual assault, you will want legal representation in order to protect your criminal rights.
Defenses exist of the offender had reasonably believed the victim to be over age 16, or if offender and victim were less than 4 years apart and were in an ongoing relationship. A close in age exemption, also known as "Romeo and Juliet law", is designed to prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both are below the age of consent.
Depending on the situation, the Indiana close-in-age exemption may completely exempt qualifying close-in-age couples from the age of consent law, or merely provide a legal defence that can be used in the event of prosecution.