Evidence that the defendant had the chance to have sexual relations coupled with a desire, or opportunity and inclination, might be sufficient to prove guilt.

Photographs or testimony of a witness who observed the couple having sexual intercourse is not necessary.

Dating adultery-80Dating adultery-40

In states that still have adultery laws on the books, but have failed to prosecute anyone under them recently, courts have ruled that the mere lack of prosecution under the adultery statute does not result in that statute becoming invalid or judicially unenforceable. Occasionally, adultery has been successfully asserted as a defense to the crime of murder by an individual charged with killing his or her spouse's lover.

Courts have also rejected the argument that prosecutions for adultery are inconsistent with the right to privacy guaranteed by state and federal constitutions. Courts are loath, however, to excuse the heinous crime of murder on the ground that the accused party was agitated about a spouse's adulterous activities.

In such states, a complaint can be filed by a husband or wife against the adulterous spouse's lover.

Evidence Customary rules prescribe the types of evidence that can be offered to prove guilt or innocence.

Initiation of Criminal Proceedings Under some statutes, a prosecution for adultery can be brought only by the spouse of the accused person although technically the action is initiated in the name of the state.

Other states provide that a husband or wife is precluded from commencing prosecution for adultery since those states have laws that prohibit a husband or wife from testifying against his or her spouse.

Statutes attempt to discourage adultery by making such behavior punishable as a crime and by allowing a blameless party to obtain a Divorce against an adulterous spouse.

Although adultery has been historically regarded as a legal wrong, it has not always been considered a crime.

In Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, adultery was punishable solely in courts created by the church to impose good morals.

In the ecclesiastical courts, adultery was any act of sexual intercourse by a married person with someone not his or her spouse.

The act was considered wrongful regardless of whether the other person was married.