- Ages of consent in the United States
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- Georgia Age of Consent & Statutory Rape Laws
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They can require jail time of up to one year, and the sentencing court has the power to use probation, community service, and fines.
Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony statutory rape charge, contacting a criminal defense attorney ASAP can help protect your rights and avoid a tough sentence. Any person convicted under this subsection of the offense of statutory rape shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section Statutory Rape in Georgia: Get the facts first and the help you need.
Ages of consent in the United States
This means that persons aged 15 and younger do not have a legal capacity to consent to sexual activity under the law. While no closing in age exemptions exist in Georgia, in the event the offender is under age 19 and the victim is no more than 4 decades younger, the crime is classified as a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony. This distinction opens the possibility of taking advantage of the Georgia First Offender Act provisions, which help first time offenders avoid permanent records.
In the United States, state law determines the age of consent for citizens in that state. Age of consent in the U.
One must be 18 or older to marry without parental consent in Georgia. In Georgia, there are other crimes besides statutory rape that are related to age of consent and child abuse. Sexual activity with an underage person may be charged as the below-listed offenses: If you are accused of statutory rape or any of these crimes in Georgia, find an experienced criminal defense attorney who can review the facts of your case and advise you how to proceed.
In Georgia, there is no Romeo and Juliet Law, but there is an exception for some cases that reduce the statutory rape charge to a misdemeanor. This exception applies to defendants aged 18 or younger that are within four years older than the victim.
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The Romeo and Juliet Laws that exist in some states allow young people to consent to sex with someone else who is close to their age, even if the first party is below the standard age of consent for that state. For example, Delaware provides that the age of consent is However, they have an exception that permits 16 and year-olds to consent to sex with partners up to age Because Georgia has no Romeo and Juliet or close-in-age exception, the results of statutory rape cases can vary widely across the state depending on the circumstances.
For example, it is possible for two underage sex partners in Georgia to each get charged with statutory rape. Georgia can charge in cases where a year-old willingly had sex with a 16 or year-old partner since the year-old could not legally grant consent. The Genarlow Wilson case was an example of the arbitrary nature of sex act violations between young people; at 17 years old, his age did not prevent him from receiving a felony charge and a minimum ten-year sentence, though the sex was consensual. For help navigating these complex circumstances, your best bet is to reach out to a trustworthy attorney in Atlanta GA.
However, these situations frequently lead to complications, so it may be best to avoid the situation entirely.
Consensual dating between adults and minors is not a valid defense for statutory rape in Georgia. Regardless of a consensual relationship, sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 in Georgia is statutory rape unless the parties are married. There have been cases where individuals are charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for only inviting the child to disobey his or her parents. But what does Georgia law say about sexting? When done by adults, it is a matter of privacy and they may do what they like.
However, when done with or involving minors, the policy against child pornography must be considered. The state of Georgia considers teen texting or sexting nude images to be a misdemeanor when it meets the following criteria: In juvenile court , like at the Atlanta Municipal Court , the law can apply more flexible remedies and protect privacy with sealed records and closed proceedings. However, sexting convictions can carry heavy fines and significant sentences for teens, whether tried as adults or juveniles. In a well-publicized case , a year old soldier had consensual sex with a year-old who claimed she was The accused and the victim ultimately agreed that she lied about her age and circumstances.
Because the man was over 21, he faced a sentence of ten to twenty years in prison rather than the one to ten-year penalty applicable to defendants under the age of Georgia senators recently proposed Senate Bill , which would eliminate consent as a defense in charges of sexual contact between students and employees of the same school.
The law responded to situations in which students over the age of 16 engaged in consensual sex with adult employees or agents of the school.
Teacher and student sex is already prohibited by Georgia law but proposed SB would eliminate close-in-age misdemeanor exceptions for school employee and student cases. The Genarlow Wilson case illustrates the severe and unreasonable results of a strict application of the statutory rape laws. The Wilson case involves a year-old in consensual oral sex with a year-old girl.
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Wilson was charged with child molestation and given a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence, and he was placed on the list of sex offenders. Upon his release from prison, Dixon enrolled at Hampton University in Virginia with a football scholarship. The Dixon case is just one in a long line of similar legal battles teens have faced in the last decade. A Hot Topic Among Teens The recent discovery that year-old actress Jamie Lynn Spears, the sister of pop star Britney Spears, became pregnant by her year-old boyfriend has again turned consensual sex among teens into a hotly contested issue.
Parents, particularly those with teenage daughters, certainly have cause for concern. Research shows that teenage girls tend to have their first sexual experience with male partners who are three or more years older.
Georgia Age of Consent & Statutory Rape Laws
But do these dangers warrant laws that put young people in prison? Romeo and Juliet Make a Comeback Statutory rape is defined by the FBI as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent. The statutory rape laws vary greatly from state to state, with more than half of the states setting the legal age of consent at 16 other states range from 14 to For the most part, there is no single age at which a person can consent to sexual activity. Only 12 states set a specific age ranging from 16 to 18 , while in the majority of states, the age of consent depends on multiple factors, including the ages of each partner and the number of years between them.
The purpose behind most statutory rape laws is to punish grown adults who take sexual advantage of a minor. The following are just a few examples of Romeo and Juliet laws currently in place in the United States:. Exceptions and Other Considerations In addition to Romeo and Juliet laws, some states have specific exemptions when both parties to the sexual act are minors, or the person to be charged is legally married to the minor.
However, there are still restrictions in some states about the type of sexual activity that is permissible, such as oral sex and sodomy, as well as restrictions on relationships involving a minor and a person of authority, including teachers, coaches, or tutors. All states have special provisions if any physical force was used or serious physical injury resulted. Until recently, statutory rape laws applied only to females, ignoring situations involving sex between an adult female and underage male.
Today, most laws are gender neutral, and a number of women in authority positions such as Mary Kay Letourneau, Debra Lafave, Pamela Rogers Turner, and Pamela Smart have been prosecuted for engaging in sexual relationships with younger males. Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?
Georgia Age of Consent Lawyers
While many states have strict statutory rape laws on the books, prosecutors have been inconsistent in enforcing them, says Mark Chaffin, a researcher with the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth. One particularly shocking case drew international attention when year-old Georgia resident, Genarlow Wilson, was charged with aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a year-old girl. Georgia law, which has since been changed to classify this act as a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in prison, also required Wilson to register as a sex offender when he was released.
Are Statutory Rape Laws Outdated? Statutory rape laws are based on the premise that although young girls may want to have sex, they may not have enough experience or discernment to make a mature, informed decision. The laws are designed to protect young people who have less information and power than their and-over counterparts.