Legal Dictionary

consensual crime

Definition of consensual crime


consensual crime (plural consensual crimes)

  1. An activity to which all participants consent which is deemed to be illegal.

Further reading

A consensual crime is a public order crime that involves more than one participant, all of whom give their consent as willing participants in an activity that is unlawful. Legislative bodies and interest groups sometimes rationalize the criminalization of consensual activity because they feel it offends cultural norms, or because one of the parties to the activity is considered a "victim" despite their informed consent.

Consensual crimes are sometimes described as crimes in which the victim is the state, the judicial system, or society at large and so affect the general (sometimes ideological or cultural) interests of the system, such as common sexual morality. Victimless crime while similar, typically involves acts that do not involve multiple persons. Drug use is typically considered a victimless crime where as the sale of drugs between two or more persons would be a consensual crime. The fact that no persons come forward to claim injury has essentially made the two terms interchangeable in common use.

Giving consent

When discussing consensual crime, one issue is whether all the participants are capable of giving genuine consent. This may not be the case if one or more of the participants are:

  • Animals
  • Children (normally measured as being under the legal age of consent)
  • Severely disabled
  • Severely mentally ill
  • Not fully informed about the issues involved
  • Suffering from mood swings
  • Acting under duress
  • Addicted
  • Intoxicated
  • Unconscious


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     common law
2.     AORO
3.     adjudication order
4.     lex patriae
5.     Miranda warning
6.     stare decisis
7.     appellant
8.     sabotage
9.     decision
10.     contributory liability