Statutory rape is a crime described as a sexual activity that occurs between an adult and a minor who is below the age of consent. In Georgia, the age of consent is 16 years old, which means that anyone under that age cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse. When a person engages in sexual activity with someone who is under the age of consent, even if the minor appears to be willing to engage in the activity, they may be charged with statutory rape.
What is Statutory Rape
Georgia Penal code Sexual Offenses § 16-6-3, defines this crime as: “A person commits the offense of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years and not his or her spouse, provided that no conviction shall be had for this offense on the unsupported testimony of the victim.”
In Georgia, statutory rape can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Georgia penal code 16-6-3 states “if the victim is at least 14 but less than 16 years of age and the person convicted of statutory rape is 18 years of age or younger and is no more than four years older than the victim, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
A person convicted of the felony offense of statutory rape shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years; provided, however, that if the person so convicted is 21 years of age or older, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years.
A key part of understanding the crime of statutory rape is that minors (as defined above) are not able to give consent, regardless of whether they seem to consent to willingly engaging in sexual activity. Legally, minors are not considered to have the legal capacity to consent. This is because the law recognizes that children are developmentally immature and therefore not able to make decisions about some things, including when to engage in sexual behaviors.
Penalties for Statutory Rape
The penalties for statutory rape in Georgia include:
- Community service
In addition to these penalties, convicted statutory rapists will be required to register as a sex offender. Registered sex offenders are required to follow specific guidelines, including reporting regularly to law enforcement, being restricted from certain areas such as schools and playgrounds, and notifying the authorities when they move to a new location.
Defenses for Statutory Rape Charges
The Phillips Carson Phillips attorneys will use their skill and experience to defend you against false allegations of statutory rape. The most common defense is to argue that you did not know the victim’s age or that you reasonably believed that the victim was of legal age. Other defenses include mistaken identity and lack of evidence. We will gather any proof to show your innocence and illustrate problems or inconsistencies in the evidence.
Contact Us – Your Savannah Criminal Defense Attorneys
Being convicted of statutory rape can have serious consequences and can impact your future. If you or a loved one, or a family member is facing statutory rape charges in Georgia, it’s important to understand the severity of the situation and take immediate action. With the right legal representation, you can effectively defend yourself and beat these charges.
At Phillips Carson Phillips, we understand the complexity of statutory rape cases and the potential repercussions that come with a conviction. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are equipped with the knowledge and expertise necessary to represent you and fight for your rights. Contact our office by calling (912) 232-0081 or using our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.