By Andrew Powell J.D.
Georgia’s statutory rape law is often times misunderstood. Many people believe that statutory rape is a crime that only a male can commit. Some also believe that if the two people consent to the sexual act then there can be no crime, regardless of the age. However, these misconceptions can get you into a lot of trouble.
Georgia does not distinguish between male and female genders when it comes to charging someone with statutory rape. Simply put, statutory rape is when any individual has sex with someone else who is not at the age of consent. In Georgia, the age of consent is 16. If both individuals are under 16 years old, then both individuals can be charged with misdemeanor statutory rape.
Interestingly, you can still be charged with statutory rape even if the alleged victim lies about their age. If you are a young person and find yourself in a situation where you are about to have sex, it is critical that you are certain that the person you are about to have sex with is at least 16 years old. Never take someone’s word in a matter as serious as statutory rape.
Several of our clients find themselves in these situations far too often. In several situations, the parents of the alleged victim find out that their child is having sex and file charges with law enforcement. The same happens at a school where teachers know of students having sex and report it to law enforcement. In any scenario it is important to stay ahead of the charges and seek legal counsel to help navigate you through the legal process.
There are few circumstances where a person charged with statutory rape may face a misdemeanor instead of a felony charge. In Georgia, it is a misdemeanor if you are 18 years old or younger and the alleged victim is between 14 and 16 years old. In any other circumstance, statutory rape is a felony with a penalty of one to twenty years in prison. However, if you are over the age of 21, then you will face a minimum of ten years in prison and a maximum of twenty years. In addition, if you are convicted of felony statutory rape you must register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
If you have been charged with a violation of Georgia’s statutory rape law, call our office and we can help you navigate the system. Our office has extensive experience in misdemeanors and felonies. Fighting charges with an attorney’s help is important because any conviction on your record will greatly reduce the possibility of having future charges lowered or dismissed. Our firm can handle your misdemeanor or felony case with the expertise you need to save your record. Give us a call for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.