Criminal Defense For Statutory Rape

If you or a loved one has been accused of statutory rape in Georgia, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney that specializes in sex crimes. Call Carter Pilgrim today.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys For Statutory Rape Charges

Georgia is one of the toughest states in the nation when it comes to sex crimes- especially when it comes to crimes against children. These offenses can include child molestation, aggravated molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and statutory rape.

Statutory rape can be among the most perplexing crimes to understand. While it is considered to be a sex crime against a child, the definitions of who can be a victim and who can be a perpetrator are vastly different from other child sexual abuse statutes. In fact, it is called “statutory rape” for a specific reason. The term “statutory” means that according to the law, any time a sexual encounter between two persons fits the parameters, it is absolutely and unarguably illegal with no exceptions.

The purpose of this specific law is to protect young men and women who have reached sexual maturity or puberty but have not reached the age of consent.

In Georgia, the age of consent is 16 but it can vary from state to state. The intent of the law is to determine who is legally and mentally capable of appraising certain types of conduct and being able to decide if participating in that conduct is legal and beneficial or illegal and detrimental.

Teenagers and children who have not yet reached the age of consent are not legally recognized as being able to understand the ramifications of sexual activity and therefore are not able to consent to it. The entire purpose of statutory rape laws is to protect sexually immature teens from being subjected to or enticed into sexual activity when they are legally incapable of consenting to it.

Definition

The definition of statutory rape as set forth by Georgia law states that “a person commits the offense of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years and not his or her spouse, provided that no conviction shall be had for this offense on the unsupported testimony of the victim.”

Statutory rape is intended to single out situations when sexual relations or penetration occurs between an adult and a sexually mature minor who is past the age of puberty but has not reached the age of consent.

The gender-neutral wording or have made it possible for young males as well as females to be protected by this law.

Elements

All that is necessary in the state of Georgia to convict a suspect of statutory rape is to prove that sexual intercourse or penetration occurred at a time when the minor was under the legal age of consent.

The prosecutor does not have to prove intent or motive because the act of having sex with a minor under the age of consent is always illegal. The law is set up to protect minors from exploitation by adults.

 

Defense Strategies

Defending this type of charge can be complex. The following is a list of defenses that will not be accepted to excuse the charge of statutory rape:

  • The boy/girl looked older – any assumptions made about the age of the victim are solely the responsibility of the suspect.
  • The boy/girl told me he/she was older – it is the responsibility of the adult to only engage in sexual activity with partners who are legally able to consent to it. Not verifying the victim’s true age is the fault of the adult.
  • The victim initiated the activity or consented – the victim cannot legally consent to engage in sexual intercourse. That is precisely why statutory rape laws exist.
  • No ejaculation occurred – ejaculation is not an element of the crime. Only penetration must be proven.
  • The victim used alcohol or drugs – being under the influence of drugs or alcohol may lower the victim’s inhibitions but does not negate the fact that he/she cannot consent to engage in sexual penetration.
  • The suspect used alcohol or drugs – just as in instances of driving while impaired, being impaired by drugs or alcohol is not a defense to any crime.

There are only three scenarios that may present defenses to the crime of statutory rape. The first is if the suspect and the victim are married. In this case, the minor would have to have convinced a court of law that he or she has been emancipated and is legally able to make decisions without the help of a parent or guardian.

The second defense falls under Georgia’s “Romeo and Juliet” law. When the defendant is 18 years of age and the victim is between the ages of 14 and 16, then the defendant will likely face a misdemeanor charge rather than a felony. That will determine how the offender is sentenced.

The third scenario occurs if the defendant has been falsely accused by the victim. The wording of the statute itself protects the falsely accused, “provided that no conviction shall be had for this offense on the unsupported testimony of the victim.” The prosecutor must be able to prove that penetration occurred with corroboration from physical evidence or witnesses.

 

Penalties

The crime of statutory rape in Georgia is a felony. The only exception is when a perpetrator is under the age of 19 and the victim is between the ages of 14 and 16. In every other case, the conviction results in a felony.

If the defendant is 21 years of age or older, the penalty upon conviction can range from ten to twenty years in prison.

If the offender is under the age of 21, the punishment upon conviction can range from one to twenty years in prison.

There is no way to know what the exact sentence could be in any given case. The numbers given are guidelines for judges to use. It is up to each judge to weigh the facts of each case to determine the most suitable sentence.

 

Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

If you should find yourself the subject of statutory rape allegations, reach out to an attorney immediately to begin building your defense. You need confident defense lawyers who can interpret and assess your situation to provide the legal counsel you deserve.

Carter Pilgrim is a well-established law firm that specializes in family law, DUI cases, criminal defense, and personal injury cases. When you need legal help, we are ready to stand by you during difficult times.

 

Our Service Area

We are located in Suwanee Georgia, but we defend clients throughout Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Hall County, Barrow County, Jackson County, and Dawson County.  Contact our Atlanta law firm as soon as possible to learn how we advocate for your best interests.

Carter Pilgrim
Attorneys at Law


3725 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd, Suite A-4
Suwanee, GA 30024

Phone: Call our office 770-945-2320

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