Consent Laws
Missouri

Last Updated: March 2020
Defining Consent Answer

How is consent defined?

Consent is not specifically defined.

However, Missouri law provides that rape in the first degree is committed if the offender has sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacks the capacity to consent, or by use of forcible compulsion. Forcible compulsion includes the use of a substance administered without a victim’s knowledge or consent which renders the victim physically or mentally impaired so as to be incapable of making an informed consent to sexual intercourse. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.030.

Does the definition require "freely given consent" or "affirmative consent"?

No.






Capacity to Consent Answer

At what age is a person able to consent?

17 years old if the actor is 21 years old or older. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.034. Otherwise, 14 years old. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.032.

Does difference in age between the victim and actor impact the victim's ability to consent?

Yes, if the actor is at least 21 years old and the victim is less than 17 years old it is statutory rape in the second degree. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.034. It is child molestation in the fourth degree if a person, being more than four years older than a child who is less than seventeen years of age, subjects the child to sexual contact. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.071.

Whenever the criminality of conduct depends upon a child being less than 14 years of age, it is no defense that the defendant believed the child to be older. Whenever the criminality of conduct depends upon a child being under 17 years of age, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant reasonably believed that the child was 17 years of age or older. However, consent is not a defense if the alleged victim is less than fourteen years of age. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.020.

Does elderly age impact the victim’s ability to consent?

No.

Does developmental disability and/or mental incapacity impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, a person commits the offense of rape in the first degree if he or she has sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of forcible compulsion. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 566.030.

Does physical disability, incapacity or helplessness impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, a person commits the offense of rape in the first degree if he or she has sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of forcible compulsion.

Forcible compulsion includes the use of a substance administered without a victim's knowledge or consent which renders the victim physically or mentally impaired so as to be incapable of making an informed consent to sexual intercourse. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 566.030.

Does consciousness impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, a person commits the offense of rape in the first degree if he or she has sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of forcible compulsion. Forcible compulsion includes the use of a substance administered without a victim's knowledge or consent which renders the victim physically or mentally impaired so as to be incapable of making an informed consent to sexual intercourse. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 566.030.

Does intoxication impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, a person commits the offense of rape in the first degree if he or she has sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of forcible compulsion. Forcible compulsion includes the use of a substance administered without a victim's knowledge or consent which renders the victim physically or mentally impaired so as to be incapable of making an informed consent to sexual intercourse. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 566.030.

Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, a person commits the crime of sexual contact with a student if he or she has sexual contact with a student of a school and is:

  • a teacher;
  • a student teacher;
  • an employee of the school;
  • a volunteer of the school or of an organization working with the school on a project or program who is not a student at the school;
  • an elected or appointed official of the school district; or
  • a person employed by an entity that contracts with the school or school district to provide services.

It is not a defense that the student consented to the sexual contact. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.086.

It is also a crime for sexual conduct to take place between: caretakers and nursing facility residents; mental health providers and vulnerable persons; and corrections officers and prisoners. Mo. Ann. Stat. §§ 566.115 & 566.145.

Marriage is an affirmative defense to the crimes of statutory rape in the first and second degree, sodomy in the first and second degree and child molestation






Defenses Answer

Is consent a defense to sex crimes?

Lack of consent is an element that must be proved by the prosecution in the offense of rape in the second degree, which is the offense of sexual intercourse with another person when the perpetrator knows that he or she does so without the victim’s consent. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.031.

Whenever in this chapter the criminality of conduct depends upon a child being less than seventeen years of age, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant reasonably believed that the child was seventeen years of age or older. V.A.M.S. 566.020.2

 Whenever in this chapter the criminality of conduct depends upon a child being less than fourteen years of age, it is no defense that the defendant believed the child to be older.V.A.M.S. 566.020.1

Consent is not an affirmative defense to any sexual offense if the alleged victim is less than 14 years of age. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.020.3.

Is voluntary intoxication a defense to sex crimes?

Not specified.









DNA evidence can increase likelihood of holding a perpetrator accountable.

Read More

Sexual violence has fallen by half in the last 20 years.

More Stats

The National Sexual Assault Hotline will always be free — with your help.

Donate Now