South Carolina Laws Regarding Sexual Assault and Consent

Here are some state laws regarding sexual assault and consent:

  • Sexual battery includes vaginal, anal, and oral sexual intercourse, or any intrusion - such as a touch - of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of another person’s body.
  • The legal age of consent in South Carolina is 16. However, individuals as young as 14 years old are able to consent to have sex with a partner who is 18 years old or younger.
  • Submitting to coercion, especially of an aggravated nature, is not consent. If a person threatens to use force or violence to overcome the victim, and the victim has reason to believe that the assailant has the ability to carry out that threat, then he or she may comply with the assailant’s demands out of fear. The assailant, if convicted,  may receive up to 20 years in prison for using aggravated coercion.
  • A person can receive up to 30 years in prison for forcing a victim to submit to sexual battery in the context of kidnapping, forcible confinement, robbery, burglary, extortion, or a similar offense.
  • Consent cannot legally be given by someone who is intoxicated. A person can also receive up to 30 years in prison for sexually assaulting the victim after giving him or her a controlled or intoxicating substance, such as alcohol or a “date rape” drug.
  • A person may receive a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a victim despite knowing that the victim is mentally defective or incapacitated or physically helpless, meaning the victim may be intoxicated or have a mental or physical disability.
  • Consent should never be assumed, even in the context of a marital relationship. An individual must have consent from his or her spouse in order to engage in sexual activity with him or her. If a person is convicted of spousal sexual battery, he or she may spend up to 10 years in prison.