What Are the Statutory Rape Laws in Georgia?
What are the statutory rape laws in Georgia? Criminal defense lawyers provide answers to this legal question and others. Contact The Waltman Firm. Call today!
What Is Statutory Rape in Georgia?
In Georgia, anyone who engages in sexual activity with a person under the age of 16 can be charged with statutory rape. Statutory rape is an unlawful sexual offense.
It doesn’t matter if the child agreed to, initiated, or even fully understood the nature of the act. What matters is the child’s age. Their age determines whether the child can legally consent to the sex act.
Force isn’t a necessary component of the crime. Georgia statutory rape law basically says individuals of certain ages are not capable of giving their consent. Engaging in any sexual activity by using force can result in severe charges such as sexual battery, aggravated sodomy, and rape.
What Is the Age of Consent in Georgia?
According to Georgia Law §16-6-3, the age of consent in this state is 16. Anyone who engages in sexual activity with an individual younger than the age commits a crime. Individuals younger than 16 are considered too immature and too young to consent to any sexual act.
The statutory rape offense should be taken seriously. Penalties for statutory rape can include harsh prison sentences, which is why contacting a qualified attorney experienced with statutory rape cases can be crucial.
Also, convicted prisoners serving non-life sentences for violent felonies, including rape, aggravated child molestation, and aggravated sexual battery, are ineligible for parole. A qualified parole lawyer in Georgia can help individuals understand the full consequences of these crimes.
Georgia’s Statutory Rape Law Offenses and Penalties
There are several offenses related to sex crimes involving children or minors younger than 16.
Penalties for Statutory Rape
Technically, rape is defined as penetration by the male sex organ into the female sex organ. Even the slightest sexual penetration can be considered sexual intercourse. In addition, other sexual acts, such as anal sex or oral sex, may be prosecuted under the statutory rape law.
Statutory rape is a felony crime, punishable by up to twenty years in prison. The length of the sentence can depend on the offender’s age. For example, if the defendant is 21 or older, they can be subject to 10 to 20 years in prison.
If an adult person commits the offense of rape with a girl younger than 10, that can result in 25 years to life in prison.
What Is the Penalty for Sodomy?
Having oral or anal sex with an individual younger than 16 constitutes sodomy. As in cases of statutory rape, this sex offense is punishable by one and up to twenty years in prison.
If the child is younger than 10, the crime is considered aggravated sodomy and carries 25 years to life in prison.
Penalties for Sexual Battery and Aggravated Sexual Battery
Sexual battery in Georgia is committed when an adult individual intentionally makes improper physical or sexual contact with the intimate parts of another individual younger than 16 in order to achieve sexual arousal. A prison sentence of one to five years can be imposed for it.
If an adult offender penetrates the underage’s individual anus or genitals with a foreign object other than a penis for sexual arousal, they are committing aggravated sexual battery. A person convicted of this crime could serve up to 25 years in prison.
Exceptions to a Statutory Rape Charge
Available statutory rape defenses involve innocence and marriage. That means defendants can claim that someone else committed the crime or that the alleged crime didn’t occur.
Also, if the child and the defendant are married, that can be considered a statutory rape charges defense. However, the defendant may be charged with forcible rape, which occurs when forcing your spouse to have sex against their will.
In Georgia, mistake of age cannot be used as a defense against sex crimes. It does not matter if the minor lied about their age and the offender believed them or if the child appeared older to the offender.
“Romeo and Juliet” Laws: What Are They?
Like other states, Georgia has a “Romeo and Juliet” provision to protect young teenage lovers from harsh criminal charges and penalties.
When it comes to the offense of statutory rape, if the defendant is 18 or younger and the victim is 14 or 15, statutory rape is considered a misdemeanor offense. That means the defendant is facing up to one year in jail and a 1,000$ fine.
This is similar to the crimes of sodomy and sexual battery. Crimes involving victims aged 13 to 15 and defendants aged 18 or younger who are not four years older than the victim can also be misdemeanors if the victims are 13 to 15 years old.
In spite of consensual sex and close age differences, the offense still exists. It only reduces the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor, so consensual sex between teenagers would carry misdemeanor penalties instead of harsh felony charges.
Is Statutory Rape Subject to a Limitation Period in Georgia?
Sex crimes, including statutory rape, sodomy or aggravated sodomy, incest, child molestation or aggravated child molestation, and rape committed between July 1, 1991, and June 30, 2012, have a seven-year statute of limitations. However, it doesn’t begin to run until the crime is reported or the victim turns 16, whatever occurs first.
If the sex crime occurred on or after July 1, 2012, and the victim was younger than 16, then the prosecution can be initiated at any time if the offense is not prosecuted as a misdemeanor. These crimes include rape, aggravated sodomy, child molestation or aggravated child molestation, incest, and other sexual offenses.
How Can The Waltman Firm Help With Statutory Rape Charges?
Those charged with violating Georgia’s statutory rape laws should remember that very few legal excuses are available. However, consensual sexual intercourse is not considered a defense for this offense. Simply said, teenagers younger than 16 are not considered old enough to consent to sexual intercourse.
Some felony crimes, including rape and sex-related felonies such as sexual exploitation of children and aggravated sexual battery, are not eligible for expungement in Georgia. In addition, anyone older than 21 and convicted of statutory rape has to register as a sex offender in Georgia.
If you are facing a statutory rape charge, reaching out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is crucial. An attorney from The Waltman Firm will handle your complex felony criminal defense case, no matter how complex. Contact us today so we can evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case and help develop a defense that may apply to your case.