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Rape Charges in DeKalb County, Georgia

Rape is a serious crime in Dekalb County. O.C.G.A. § 16-6-1 defines rape as follows:

  1. A person commits the offense of rape when he has carnal knowledge of:
    1. A female forcibly and against her will or:
    2. A female who is less than ten years of age.

Carnal knowledge in rape occurs when there is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.  Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient and can be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. The fact that the person allegedly raped is the wife of the defendant shall not be a defense to a charge of rape.

How do you define “force” in a rape case in Georgia? Force means acts of physical force, threats of death or physical bodily harm, or mental coercion, such as intimidation. Lack of resistance, induced by fear, is force.

The elements of Rape in Georgia are 1) penetration, 2) force, and 3) against her will. If the person is underage, then force is implied. If the person is above the age of consent, but due to mental incompetence or severe intoxication, then finding of constructive force based on penetration.

The law on Rape in Georgia does not require physical injury or semen.

A person convicted of Rape can be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, by imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment to be followed by probation for life. Any person convicted of rape is subject to the sentencing provisions of O.C.G.A. §§ 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

In addition, the person could be on the Sex Offender Registry for life.

A person convicted of rape can also be held to account for civil liability. Furthermore, if the rape was committed by the defendant while he was acting in his scope of his employment, his employer may also be held liable.

If you face charges in Georgia for Rape, it is imperative that you do not make any statements to law enforcement or to anyone else and immediately seek help from an experienced attorney handling Rape cases in Georgia. You must protect your rights and take this matter very seriously.

The statute of limitation for a prosecution of rape is 15 years.

If you are charged with Rape in Dekalb County, you will be brought over before a Magistrate Judge within the first 72 hours of your arrest. This judge will not set a bond on Rape. You will need to have a bond motion filed before a Dekalb County Superior Court judge.

I would be happy to meet with you any time for a free consultation to discuss your case, your rights and your defenses to these allegations.

Call me at 404-581-0999 and let’s schedule a time to meet and discuss your case.

It is your life, your criminal record and you deserve the best representation possible.

Serious Violent Felonies under Georgia Law

Georgia law provides for the most serious violent offenses known as the “Seven Deadly Sins.” These are the most heinous crimes in our society and, as such, have specialized punishment including mandatory minimum punishment and limited eligibility for parole. This article will list the serious violent felonies as proscribed by law and detail the punishment surrounding them.

Seven Deadly Sins

O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.1(a) lists the “Serious Violent Felonies” in Georgia criminal law:

  • Murder, Felony Murder
  • Armed Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Rape
  • Aggravated Child Molestation
  • Aggravated Sodomy
  • Aggravated Sexual Battery

If convicted of any of these offenses, the sentencing court is required to impose no less than the statutory minimum sentences of imprisonment. O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.1(b).

Mandatory Minimum Sentences of Imprisonment

10 years imprisonment

  • Armed Robbery
  • Kidnapping (victim 14 years or older)

25 years (followed by probation for life)

  • Kidnapping (victim under 14)
  • Rape
  • Aggravated Child Molestation
  • Aggravated Sodomy
  • Aggravated Sexual Battery

Life

  • Murder, Felony Murder

 

Eligible for Parole?

  • Defendants sentenced to 10 years confinement must serve all 10 years and is not eligible for parole
  • Defendants sentenced to 25 years confinement must serve all 25 years without possibility of parole
  • Defendants sentenced to Life is parole eligible after 30 years
  • Defendants sentenced to death whose sentences is commuted to life is parole eligible after 30 years
  • Defendants sentenced to life without parole will never receive parole

O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.1(c)(1) – (4).

First Offender Treatment is not available to any of the Serious Violent Felonies.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been arrested, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed information about Atlanta laws here.

 

 

 

 

Sexsomnia – A Legal Defense to Sex Crimes?

What is Sexsomnia?

 

Sexsomnia, also referred to as “sleep sex,” is a particular form of parasomnia. Parasomnias are various categories of sleep disorders that involve abnormal behaviors, emotions, body movements, and dreams that occur while falling asleep, during sleep, between sleep phases, or during arousal from sleep. Sexsomnia involves a person engaging in sexual acts while in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Certain sexual behaviors are normal during sleep such as, nocturnal emissions, nocturnal erections, and sleep orgasms.

 

People who suffer from sexsomnia often have no memory of their sexual behaviors during sleep although they may appear to be fully awake. This sleep disorder has been recognized as a criminal defense in sexual assault cases.

 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the taxonomic and diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has classified 11 groups of sleep-wake disorders. These include insomnia disorders, hypersomnolence disorders, narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea, central sleep apnea, sleep-related hypoventilation, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, non–rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep arousal disorders, nightmare disorders, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorders, restless legs syndrome (RLS), and substance-medication-induced sleep disorders. Sexsomnia is classified under NREM arousal parasomnia.

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms include but are not limited to: masturbation, fondling, intercourse with climax, sexual assault or rape. Someone witnessing an individual experiencing an episode of sexsomnia will note the appearance that their eyes are open. The eyes are typically described as being “vacant” and “glassy”,  and give the appearance of the individual being awake and conscious, even though the individual is completely unconscious and unaware of their actions.

 

Causes and Risk Factors

 

Possible causes can include: traumatic brain injury, stress, sleep deprivation, use of alcohol or drugs, and other pre-existing sleep disorders. Risk factors include sleep disruption or sleep apnea, sleep related epilepsy, and certain prescription medications.

 

Legal Cases

 

People v. Ellington

In People v. Ellington, Joseph Ellington was charged with six counts of lewd acts on a child under age 14. Mr. Ellington’s family history was notable for sleepwalking in his daughter. He had no prior criminal history and used marijuana chronically.

 

The first victim (A.), a nine-year-old friend of Mr. Ellington’s daughter, testified that he put his hand inside her (A.’s) clothing on several occasions. A second victim (K.), another nine-year-old friend of Mr. Ellington’s daughter, testified that he pulled down her (K.’s) tights and panties and put his finger on her “privacy”. K. testified that Mr. Ellington had touched her in the same two places on another occasion when she stayed overnight with his daughter.

 

Mr. Ellington testified that he sat next to K. and subsequently fell asleep. He stated that he did not recollect what happened. Mr. Ellington’s wife described him as a restless sleeper who would wake up violently if startled. She testified he would sometimes make sexual advances in his sleep. She reported that he did not respond when spoken to during these episodes and that he occasionally would sit up and bark out an order that she could not understand.

 

Defense expert, Clete Kushida, MD, was retained the day before he testified and did not conduct any interviews or clinical examinations. He presented literature and general information regarding sleep disorders. The jury found Mr. Ellington guilty of one count of oral copulation for the alleged offenses against both victims, but was unable to reach a verdict on the other counts and enhancement charges. Subsequently, the court declared a mistrial as to those counts and the enhancement allegations were stricken.

 

Before sentencing, Dr. Kushida performed a sleep study on Mr. Ellington, who motioned for a new trial. The defense presented Dr. Kushida’s report from polysomnography, which demonstrated “nonspecific subtle indications” that required further interview and evaluation. The court denied Mr. Ellington’s motion for new trial as they determined that the meager evidence of “nonspecific subtle indications” would not have any impact on the result of the trial. The appellate court affirmed the judgment. Mr. Ellington was sentenced to six years.

 

State v. Scott

Adrian Scott was charged with three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and two counts of rape of his stepdaughter. Mr. Scott’s stepdaughter reported that he fondled her groin while the family was sleeping in close quarters. On other occasions, she reported similar behavior when he had fallen asleep in her room. Mr. Scott reported no recollection of this behavior. The victim was between 13 and 18 years of age during the alleged incidents.

 

Sleep medicine expert, J. Brevard Haynes, MD, conducted a forensic evaluation of Mr. Scott. Dr. Haynes interviewed Mr. Scott’s spouse, who reported that he had fondled her vagina while asleep on several occasions without recollection. Dr. Haynes performed polysomnography and a mean sleep latency test, which failed to show aberrant sexual behaviors during sleep. Dr. Haynes opined, “[S]exual behavior in sleep parasomnia is the explanation for [Mr. Scott’s] touching of his stepdaughter”. He testified that the basis of his opinion was due to the following (1) [Mr. Scott’s] history of night terrors and sleep walking, (2) he has exhibited similar behavior with his wife, (3) his behavior is in keeping with that reported in other individuals with this parasomnia, (4) there is no history of vaginal foundling [sic] during wakefulness, (5) this behavior is not in keeping with his character.”

 

The state filed a pretrial motion in the criminal court for Davidson County, Tennessee, to exclude expert testimony. The trial court determined that the expert testimony was not sufficiently trustworthy and reliable to be presented to the jury. A Davidson County grand jury found Mr. Scott guilty on all five counts. This case reached the Supreme Court of Tennessee. The court determined that the trial court erred by excluding Dr. Haynes’ testimony regarding sexsomnia, and the judgment was reversed and remanded.

 

Swedish man acquitted of rape with sexsomnia defense

Mikael Halvarsson was acquitted of rape in Sweden using to the sexsomnia defense. Charges were brought against Halvarsson after reports of sexual assault were filed by his girlfriend at the time. Upon investigation, Halvarsson was found still asleep in the alleged victim’s bed when police arrived.

 

Contact Us

 

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, please contact our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

 

 

Rape

Rape is a serious crime in Georgia. O.C.G.A. § 16-6-1 defines rape as follows:

  1. A person commits the offense of rape when he has carnal knowledge of:
  2. A female forcibly and against her will or:
  3. A female who is less than ten years of age.

Carnal knowledge in rape occurs when there is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.  Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient and can be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. The fact that the person allegedly raped is the wife of the defendant shall not be a defense to a charge of rape.

How do you define “force” in a rape case in Georgia? Force means acts of physical force, threats of death or physical bodily harm, or mental coercion, such as intimidation. Lack of resistance, induced by fear, is force.

The elements of Rape in Georgia are 1) penetration, 2) force, and 3) against her will. If the person is underage, then force is implied. If the person is above the age of consent, but due to mental incompetence or severe intoxication, then finding of constructive force based on penetration.

The law on Rape in Georgia does not require physical injury or semen.

A person convicted of Rape can be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, by imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment to be followed by probation for life. Any person convicted of rape is subject to the sentencing provisions of O.C.G.A. §§ 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

In addition, the person could be on the Sex Offender Registry for life.

A person convicted of rape can also be held to account for civil liability. Furthermore, if the rape was committed by the defendant while he was acting in his scope of his employment, his employer may also be held liable.


If you face charges in Georgia for Rape, it is imperative that you do not make any statements to law enforcement or to anyone else and immediately seek help from an experienced attorney handling Rape cases in Georgia. You must protect your rights and take this matter very seriously.
The statute of limitation for a prosecution of rape is 15 years.

I would be happy to meet with you any time for a free consultation to discuss your case, your rights and your defenses to these allegations.

Call me at 404-581-0999 and let’s schedule a time to meet and discuss your case.

It is your life, your criminal record and you deserve the best representation possible.

Sexual Assault and Rape Crimes in Georgia

by Mike Jacobs

Rape is a serious crime in Georgia. O.C.G.A. § 16-6-1 defines rape as follows:

  1. A person commits the offense of rape when he has carnal knowledge of:
    1. A female forcibly and against her will or:
    2. A female who is less than ten years of age.

Carnal knowledge in rape occurs when there is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.  Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient and can be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. The fact that the person allegedly raped is the wife of the defendant shall not be a defense to a charge of rape.

How do you define “force” in a rape case in Georgia? Force means acts of physical force, threats of death or physical bodily harm, or mental coercion, such as intimidation. Lack of resistance, induced by fear, is force.

The elements of Rape in Georgia are 1) penetration, 2) force, and 3) against her will. If the person is underage, then force is implied. If the person is above the age of consent, but due to mental incompetence or severe intoxication, then finding of constructive force based on penetration.

The law on Rape in Georgia does not require physical injury or semen.

A person convicted of Rape can be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, by imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment to be followed by probation for life. Any person convicted of rape is subject to the sentencing provisions of O.C.G.A. §§ 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

In addition, the person could be on the Sex Offender Registry for life.

A person convicted of rape can also be held to account for civil liability. Furthermore, if the rape was committed by the defendant while he was acting in his scope of his employment, his employer may also be held liable.

If you face charges in Georgia for Rape, it is imperative that you do not make any statements to law enforcement or to anyone else and immediately seek help from an experienced attorney handling Rape cases in Georgia. You must protect your rights and take this matter very seriously.

The statute of limitation for a prosecution of rape is 15 years.

I would be happy to meet with you any time for a free consultation to discuss your case, your rights and your defenses to these allegations.

Call me at 404-581-0999 and let’s schedule a time to meet and discuss your case.

It is your life, your criminal record and you deserve the best representation possible.

SB-440

Being Charged as an Adult in Georgia

Part 1: SB-440: Automatic Transfers to Superior Court

 In 1994, Georgia enacted State Bill 440 (more commonly referred to as SB-440) to “provide that certain juvenile offenders who commit certain violent felonies shall be tried as adults in the superior court. This SB-440 law granted adult courts exclusive jurisdiction over criminal cases involving juveniles (ages 13-17) who are charged with one or more of the following “Seven Deadly Sins”:

  1. Murder
  2. Armed Robbery with Firearm
  3. Rape
  4. Voluntary Manslaughter
  5. Aggravated Sexual Battery
  6. Aggravated Sodomy
  7. Aggravated Child Molestation

 

O.C.G.A. 15-11-560(b)

In essence, juveniles (age 13-17) charged with one of the above-mentioned crimes in Georgia will automatically have his or her case  transferred from juvenile court to superior court, where he or she will be charged, tried, and punished as an adult. If convicted and sentenced to prison, the juvenile will not be sent to a Youth Detention Facility through Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice. Instead, the juvenile will be housed with other juvenile inmates in the custody of Georgia’s Department of Corrections until he or she reaches the age of 17 and is thrown into the general prison population.

Occasionally, at the discretion of the prosecutor, a SB-440 case may be transferred back to juvenile court after “after investigation and for cause” if the case has not been indicted yet. By contrast, after indictment, a SB-440 case can only be transferred to juvenile court for “extraordinary cause.” O.C.G.A 15-11-560(d), O.C.G.A. 15-11-560(e). Therefore, time is of the essence when it comes to advocating for the case to be transferred back to juvenile court.

If you know someone charged as an adult with an SB-440 crime, PLEASE contact us at the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith. We would be happy to help you with your case and answer any and all of your questions about juveniles charged as adults.