Georgia Age of Consent: A Guide by Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Speak with a trusted sex crime lawyer in Georgia.

Explore Georgia’s age of consent laws with insights from Philip Kim Law, P.C. Learn about legal implications and how our experienced team can assist in criminal defense cases.

 

Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.

Published on February 21, 2024.

 

Age of Consent in Georgia

Are you uncertain about Georgia’s legal age of consent for sexual activity? Or are you facing allegations of statutory rape or any other form of sex offense? Consider seeking guidance from experienced criminal defense attorneys whenever you’re charged with such crimes.

A conviction for sex crimes can leave a lasting mark on your criminal record and carry significant negative consequences in various aspects of your life.

It’s important to note that claiming ignorance of the minor’s age or the legal age of consent will not serve as a defense in court. Ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse.

A skilled sex crime lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the age of consent laws and analyze your case effectively. At Philip Kim Law, P.C., our attorneys are committed to leveraging our extensive experience in criminal defense to help you understand Georgia’s age of consent laws and represent you in court proceedings if you’re facing charges under Georgia statutory rape law.

Understanding the Age of Consent in Georgia

Age is essential when it comes to engaging in a sexual act. In the U.S., every state has its laws regarding who can legally consent to sexual activity. When you have sexual intercourse with a person whose age is below the legalized consent age, you may be at the risk of being convicted of statutory rape.

Age of consent refers to the age at which a person is deemed to have the mental capacity to consent to sexual acts legally, having understood the nature and consequences of engaging in them. It serves as the legally defined threshold of maturity for consenting to sexual relations under any circumstances.

Typically falling between the ages of 16 and 18 across the U.S., the age of consent in Georgia, as outlined in OCGA § 16-6-3, is 16. This means that engaging in sexual activity with an individual aged 15 or younger in Georgia may lead to prosecution for statutory rape. Sexual activity encompasses various acts, including penetration of a sex organ, anal sex, or oral sex.

A conviction for statutory rape or violating age of consent laws can carry significant repercussions, adversely impacting both personal and professional spheres. Penalties may include imprisonment, substantial fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Variations and Exceptions to Statutory Rape

It is essential you know there are certain exceptions to when violating the age of consent law would amount to statutory rape, including the following:

  • Romeo & Juliet Laws: Romeo & Juliet laws are a close-in-age gap exemption for statutory rape laws. These laws protect you if you engage in sexual activities with someone whose age is close to yours, even when both of you or one of you is below the age of consent.
  • In cases of statutory rape, if the defendant is 18 or younger and the victim is aged 14 or 15, and the age difference between the two individuals is not more than four years, the offense is classified as a misdemeanor instead of a felony charge. Despite consensual sexual intercourse and close age differences, the offense still exists. It only reduces the status of the offense from felony to misdemeanor.
  • Marriage: Marriage exempts a sexual activity that would have amounted to statutory rape under contrary circumstances from being considered one. If you are married to a person who is below the age of consent, having sexual activity with that person will not be a breach of the age of consent laws. However, it is worth noting that the defendant could still face charges of forcible rape, which involves coercing a spouse into engaging in sexual intercourse against their will.

Penalties for Violating Age of Consent in Georgia

 

It is discovered that adolescents who are sexually active at a young age are more likely to have experienced forceful sexual intercourse, as about 60% of women who had sex before the age of 15 reported having a coercive sexual experience.

This and various other factors underscore the necessity of establishing a legal age at which an individual is deemed capable of consenting to sexual activities. In cases of statutory rape, coercion is not a significant factor in the offense, meaning one can be convicted even without using force on the victim.

Statutory rape charges can result in either misdemeanor or felony classifications, depending on the age difference involved. Individuals aged 21 or older may face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. Conversely, if the defendant is 18 years old or younger and the victim is at least 14 but less than 16, statutory rape is considered a misdemeanor. In such cases, the defendant may face up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Statute of Limitations for Statutory Rape

Statutes of limitations serve as deadlines for initiating legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense, essentially setting a time limit for filing lawsuits. These limitations vary depending on the nature of the crime. The case can be dismissed if legal action is attempted after the applicable period has elapsed.

For crimes committed between July 1, 1991, and June 30, 2012, involving victims under 16, the seven-year statute of limitations begins either when the victim turns 16 or when the violation is reported, whichever occurs first. Offenses falling under this category include cruelty to children, rape, sodomy, statutory rape, child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, and incest.

For sex crimes occurring on or after July 1, 2012, involving victims under 16 years old and not prosecuted as misdemeanors, prosecution may commence at any time. These offenses encompass trafficking a person for sexual servitude, cruelty to a child in the first degree, rape, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, and incest.

Certain sex crimes are exempt from Georgia’s statute of limitations laws, particularly when DNA evidence is utilized to establish the identity of the accused. In such cases, there is no time limit for initiating legal action, provided that sufficient physical evidence tested for DNA is preserved and available for testing by the accused. These exempted crimes include rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, and kidnapping.

Contact Philip Kim Law, P.C., for Your Sex Crime Cases

Facing charges for sex crimes or violent offenses can lead to severe consequences with lasting impacts. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek the assistance of a sex crime lawyer if you’re accused of such offenses, including statutory rape or violating the age of consent. It’s important to note that consensual sexual activity or ignorance of the victim’s age is not a viable defense for statutory rape.

At Philip Kim Law, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in Georgia’s sex and violent crimes laws and can adeptly navigate the legal intricacies of your case. We prioritize our client’s needs, offering personalized guidance and effective representation in court.

We’re committed to crafting robust defense strategies to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and begin safeguarding your rights.

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Philip Kim Law, P.C.
368 West Pike Street, Suite 203
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 203-6968
Fax: (678) 273-3501
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