Consent Laws
Vermont

Last Updated: March 2020
Defining Consent Answer

How is consent defined?

Consent” means words or actions by a person indicating a voluntary agreement to engage in a sexual act. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3251(3).

Additionally, a person will be deemed to have acted without the consent of the other person where the actor:

  • (A) knows that the other person is mentally incapable of understanding the nature of the sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct; or
  • (B) knows that the other person is not physically capable of resisting, or declining consent to, the sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct; or
  • (C) knows that the other person is unaware that a sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct is being committed; or
  • (D) knows that the other person is mentally incapable of resisting, or declining consent to, the sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct, due to a mental condition or a psychiatric or developmental disability. 

13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3254.

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

No.






Capacity to Consent Answer

At what age is a person able to consent?

16 years old. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3252.

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

Yes, if the child is at least 15 years old and the actor is less than 19 years old, consent can be given. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3252.

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 acts without consent of the victim where the actor knows that the other person is mentally incapable of understanding the nature of the sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct or knows that the other person is mentally incapable of resisting, or declining consent to, the sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct, due to a mental condition or a psychiatric or developmental disability. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3254.

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

Yes, a person acts without consent of the victim where the actor knows that the other person is not physically capable of resisting, or declining consent to, the sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3254.

Does consciousness impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, a person acts without consent of the victim where the actor knows that the other person is unaware that a sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct is being committed. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3254.

Does intoxication impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, if the intoxication renders the victim mentally incapable of understanding the nature of the sexual act or lewd and lascivious conduct and the actor knows of such victim’s mental incapacity. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3254.

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

Yes, consent is not a defense where:

  • The victim is confined to a correctional facility or is being supervised by the department of corrections and the actor is a correctional employee, contractor or other person providing services to offenders on behalf of the department of corrections. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3257.
  • The actor engages in a sexual act with a minor and the actor is at least 48 months older than the minor and the actor is in a position of power, authority or supervision over the minor by virtue of the actor’s undertaking the responsibility, professionally or voluntarily, to provide for the health or welfare of minors, or guidance, leadership, instruction, or organized recreational activities for minors. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3258.
  • The victim is under the age of 18 and is entrusted to the actor’s care by authority of law or is the actor’s child, grandchild, foster child, adopted child, or stepchild. Vermont Stat. Ann. §13-3252(d).
  • The victim is under the age of 16 and the victim is entrusted to the actor’s care by authority of law or is the actor’s child, grandchild, foster child, adopted child or step child; or the actor is at least 18 years old, resides in the victim’s household and serves in a parental role with respect to the victim. Vermont Stat. Ann. §13-3252(e).

However, for married persons, consent can be a defense where a person engages in a sexual act with a child who is under 16 years old and the persons are married to each other and the sexual act is consensual. 13 Vermont Stat. Ann. §3252.






Defenses Answer

Is consent a defense to sex crimes?

Yes, where a person engages in a sexual act with a child who is under 16 years old and:

  • the persons are married to each other and the sexual act is consensual; or
  • where the person is less than 19 years old, the child is at least 15 years old and the sexual act is consensual. Vermont Stat. Ann. §13-3252.

Is voluntary intoxication a defense to sex crimes?

Not specified.









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