The State of Georgia has its fair share of national headlines for its history of abusive prosecutions of Statutory Rape, but how can these laws impact you? Accusations of sexual crimes can lead to life-altering penalties including prison time & registration on the sex-offender registry. Your response to these allegations must be immediate & unwavering: If you or a loved one is accused of committing statutory rape, contact our office immediately for a free consultation! Below are some FAQs our law office received about Statutory Rape. Please contact us if you have any other questions.
What Is the Difference Between Rape and Statutory Rape?
In a Rape case, the State must prove that sexual penetration occurred forcibly or against her will (O.C.G.A. 16-6-1). If convicted of Rape, you can be sentenced to a maximum of life imprisonment, or death.
In a Statutory Rape case, the State only needs to prove that sexual intercourse occurred with a person under the age of 16. If convicted of Statutory Rape, you can be sentenced to a range of 1-20 years in prison.
Is it Statutory Rape if the Victim is Younger Than 16, But He or She Consented?
YES. The age of consent in Georgia is 16 years old. If the person involved is less than 16 years old, the sexual encounter is defined as non-consensual no matter what was said or done. If the person is not at least 16 years old, they cannot legally consent to a sexual relationship.
Is It Statutory Rape if I Didn’t Know His or Her Age?
YES. You can be charged with Statutory Rape even if you reasonably believed the person was 16, and even if the person lied about their age. Ignorance is NOT a defense.
Is It Statutory Rape If Both of Us Are Classmates?
YES. The penalties can vary based on the following ages:
|Age of Accused||Age of Victim||Penalty|
|21 yrs or Older||Less Than 16 yrs||10 yrs – 20 yrs|
|Younger Than 21 yrs||Less Than 16 yrs||1 yr – 20 yrs|
|18 yrs or Younger, But Not|
4 yrs Older Than Victim
|Less Than 16 yrs, But|
At Least 14 yrs Old
|Up to 12 Months|
You can find out more about the Georgia Sexual Offender Registry at the GBI Website Here.
What if Today is My 19th Birthday & Tomorrow is My Girlfriend’s 16th Birthday?
- If you had sexual intercourse yesterday (when you were 18, and she was 15), you could be charged with Statutory Rape and face a misdemeanor sentence of 12 months.
- If you have sexual intercourse today (when you are 19 and she is 15), you could be charged with Statutory Rape and face a felony sentence of up to 20 years.
- If you have consensual sexual intercourse tomorrow (when you are 19 and she is 16), you will not be guilty of Statutory Rape.
What if I Only Send Sexy Messages or Photos?
You can be guilty of numerous other sex crimes including Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes, Online Solicitation, or Child Pornography for having any sexual communications with someone younger than 16 yrs old.
What if His or Her Parents Approve Our Sexual Relationship?
You will still be guilty of a crime. Parents can NOT consent to their child’s sexual relationship.
So You Are Saying I Should Wait Until He or She Turns 16 Years Old?
NO. We are simply helping you understand what Statutory Rape means and how it can impact your life. Having sexual relations with anyone as young as 16 years old (even with consent) presents many moral & legal problems that you should be aware of. Georgia law has recently expanded to hold people criminally liable for inappropriate sexual relationships with people even if they are 16 or older, and juries across the nation are much more likely to view a sexual relationship with a teenager as potentially criminal.
To better understand how to protect yourself from a sex crimes prosecution, contact our office for a free consultation. Attorney Muneer Awad has successfully obtained dismissals in sex crimes cases, and has won multiple Not Guilty jury verdicts for defendants facing life sentences in sex crimes prosecutions.