What Are the State of Georgia’s Laws on Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is an expansive area of law in Georgia with dozens of statutes in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) defining different sex crimes and related terms, as well as explaining the various punishments for each. It is important to understand the sexual assault laws in your state, especially if someone has accused you of a crime. Retain a criminal defense lawyer for assistance combatting a case against you in Georgia.

Child Molestation: O.C.G.A. 16-6-4

Committing the offense of child molestation means to engage in any immoral or indecent act to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party, in the presence of a child or with any child under the age of 16. Sending images of someone committing child molestation also fulfills the definition of this crime. The penalty for child molestation in Georgia is 5 to 20 years in prison for a first offense and 10 to 30 years for a second offense.

Sexual Battery: O.C.G.A. 16-6-22.1

Someone commits the crime of sexual battery in Georgia if he or she deliberately touches the intimate parts of another person without that person’s consent. Intimate parts by law are the genitals, groin, inner thighs, buttocks or anus, as well as the breasts of a female. Sexual battery is a high and aggravated misdemeanor (or a felony if against a child under 16) punishable with up to five years in jail.

Aggravated Sexual Battery: O.C.G.A. 16-6-22.2

Aggravated sexual battery also involves the touching of intimate parts against the victim’s consent, but involves the penetration of the victim’s sexual organ or anus with a foreign object. Committing aggravated sexual battery comes with a sentence of no less than 25 years to life in prison or a split sentence with probation for life.

Consent: O.C.G.A. 16-1-3

Although Georgia law does not define consent, it does define not giving consent. Under Georgia law, failure to give consent is a person not voluntarily yielding, while knowing the essential facts, to the proposal of the perpetrator in a circumstance that requires the person’s concurrence. It is not lawful to gain someone’s consent by force, coercion, intimidation or drugging. Minors under the age of 16 cannot are unable to lawfully give their consent.

Rape: O.C.G.A. 16-6-1

To rape someone in Georgia is to have carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will or a female under the age of 10. Carnal knowledge refers to any penetration of the female’s sexual organ by the male’s sexual organ. Marriage is not a defense against a rape charge in Georgia. A rape conviction in Georgia can come with a sentence of life in prison without parole, life in prison, a split sentence involving probation or the death penalty.

Sodomy: O.C.G.A. 16-6-2

Sodomy is performing or submitting to any sexual act involving one person’s sexual organ and the other person’s mouth or anus, against the victim’s will. Aggravated sodomy is committing this crime against a child under 10 years old. The penalty for sodomy is imprisonment for 1 to 20 years or life in prison for aggravated sodomy (with the chance of a split sentence).

Incest: O.C.G.A. 16-6-22

Incest is the act of intentionally engaging in sexual intercourse or sodomy with someone the perpetrator knows he or she is related to, either by blood or marriage. An incest conviction can come with a punishment of 10 to 30 years behind bars, or 25 to 50 years if the victim was a minor under 14 years of age.

Statutes of Limitations: O.C.G.A. 17-3-1

The statute of limitations in Georgia is a law that gives a set time limit for bringing criminal charges against someone for alleged sex crimes. If the victim or prosecutor fails to bring charges by this time limit, the plaintiff will lose the right to do so. The statute of limitations for sex offenses is four years from the alleged commission of the crime. Certain exceptions exist, however, if the victim was under 16 or the crime is rape. Rape comes with a 15-year statute of limitations in Georgia.