A Statutory Rape Charge in Atlanta Georgia
You thought you were dating someone your age or maybe slightly younger. You did not know they were actually underage. According to Georgia law 16-6-3, you can be charged with statutory rape if the individual you are dating is 16 years or younger.
The only exception to the law is if you and the underaged individual are married.
Misconceptions about Statutory Rape in Atlanta Georgia from Yeargan & Kert, LLC
A Statutory Rape Charge is not the same Rape Charge in Atlanta Georgia
According to the state statute 16-6-1, a person is guilty of rape when they a carnal knowledge of a female. Georgia wrote the statute in a very complex way. Carnal knowledge is the penetration of an alleged victim sex organ by a male’s sex organ. This means a man had sex by penetrating her vagina without her consent.
The law outline two ways a man has carnal knowledge of an alleged victim that is considered rape. The first is forcing a female to have sexual intercourse by force or against their will. The second way is by having sexual intercourse with a female less than 10 years old.
A rape involves using force to obtain sex. A statutory rape means you are accused of having sex with a person who was too young to give consent.
Statutory rape is one of the most confusing and misunderstood criminal charges. For example, statutory rape is different from a traditional rape charge in Atlanta Georgia. Rape involves force and lack of consent. An alleged victim in a rape case did not give consent to the sexual intercourse.
Statutory rape is commonly associated with men. However, the crime is genderless. A woman can be accused of statutory rape if the male they are dating is under 16 years old. Another misconception refers to the age provision that may lower this felony crime to a misdemeanor.
The law does recognize that children who are 14 to 18 years old, attend school together. This may lead to a situation where a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old date. This breaks the statutory rape law. However, a prosecutor may downgrade the charge to a misdemeanor. Changing the classification of the crime is not condone the relationship or make it legal.
One of the last misconceptions about this crime is that you cannot be charged if your underage significant other gives consent. They are not old enough to give permission to date you.
The Punishment for Statutory Rape in Atlanta Georgia is a Felony
Unless the prosecutor charges you with a misdemeanor, you face a felony conviction. A misdemeanor is a maximum of 12 months in prison. The felony charge is the one to 20 years in prison. Typically, if you are older than 21-year-old, you may be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.
Often Times an Atlanta Georgia Statutory Rape Case Hinges on the Prosecutor’s Evidence Against You
The prosecution must prove that you:
- Engaged in a romantic relationship with the alleged victim
- That alleged victim was younger than 16 years old at the time of the relationship
- The alleged victim was not your spouse
Sometimes the case can be hard to prosecute because witnesses do not come forward or may change their testimony multiple times. This can make it hard for the prosecutor to prove every element of the charge.
Defending Yourself in a Statutory Rape Charge in Atlanta Georgia with Yeargan & Kert, LLC
Consent is not a legal defense to a statutory rape charge. A minor cannot consent to have sex with an adult. Until recently, there was no real defense to statutory rape because it was, and still is, a strict liability crime. A strict liability means that you should have known that the alleged victim was a minor.
However, you do have some common defenses to use in a statutory rape charge. The best defense should be the one that will help you avoid criminal liability. The common defenses include:
The victim was not a minor. You cannot be convicted of this crime if the alleged victim was actually of age. If you can prove the alleged victim was an adult, you cannot be charged or convicted of this charge.
You were married to the alleged victim at the time of the act. You cannot get into legal trouble if you marry the minor prior to having a sexual relationship. If the minor was your spouse, you cannot be charged with statutory rape.
You never had sex with the minor. This charge involves having sex with a minor. If you never had sex with them, you cannot be charged with this crime.
Make sure you tell the truth regarding your facts of the case to your attorney. You want to develop the best defense strategy for your case.
Yeargan & Kert, LLC are Your Atlanta Georgia Statutory Rape Attorneys
Honestly, statutory rape defenses are limited. This normally may limit the ability of a defense attorney to provide a strong defense. However, that does not mean you do not have options to fight the statutory rape charge.
One type of defense strategy is attacking the elements of statutory rape. The prosecutor over the case must prove each and every element of statutory rape beyond a reasonable doubt. This means they have no room for error and we have plenty of opportunities to weaken their case.
Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC about fighting your statutory rape charge. We will go over the facts of your case and come up with a strategy to obtain a positive result like dropped charges. Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC today.