Have you Been Charged with Aggravated Child Molestation in Georgia?
Many people automatically associate sex crimes with Law and Order SVU, but in reality, some people are wrongfully charged and do not receive a fair chance because people deem them guilty from the beginning. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Sex Crime Attorneys have over 20 years of criminal law experience and are here to help you. Our Lawyers genuinely care for you and want to make sure you receive a fair trial. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Georgia Law on Aggravated Child Molestation O.C.G.A. § 16-6-4(c) reads as follows:
What has to be Proven
To be convicted of aggravated child molestation, the State must demonstrate that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This involves a showing that the child was injured or an act of sodomy was committed as well as satisfying the requirements for child molestation. Child molestation requires that the victim is under 16 years of age and that an immoral or indecent act was committed.
Penalty for Aggravated Child Molestation in Georgia
A person convicted of aggravated child molestation will be punished by life in prison or by a split sentence of at least 25 years in prison followed by probation for life.
However, a person convicted of aggravated child molestation will be guilty of a misdemeanor when:
- The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old;
- The person convicted of aggravated child molestation is 18 years of age of younger and is no more than four years older than the victim; and
- The basis of the charge of aggravated child molestation involves an act of sodomy.
Lastly, a conviction for child molestation comes with the requirement that the defendant register as a sex offender. The designation of a person as a sex offender is not intended to be a punishment or a sentence but instead a regulatory mechanism resulting from the conviction of certain crimes.
Defenses to Aggravated Child Molestation in Georgia
Lack of Evidence of an Injury. If there is no proof of an injury, then the crime could be reduced the child molestation.
The crime should be treated as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. A misdemeanor conviction carries far fewer penalties than a felony conviction. Therefore, if the crime meets the standards for a misdemeanor, that evidence must be presented to the court in order to get a reduced sentence.
What are not Defenses
The injury was not significant. The Court does not describe how severe the injury must be to be considered aggravated child molestation. A slight injury will be sufficient for a conviction.
The defendant believed the victim to be of age. Because knowledge of the victim's age is not an element of the crime of child molestation, it does not matter whether or not the defendant believed them to be of age. Just the fact that they are underage will be sufficient for a conviction. Haywood v. State, 283 Ga. App. 568, (2007).
Lack of Intent. Intent does not have to be proven through a general plan to commit child molestation. Intent can be inferred from the direct and circumstantial evidence that the accused acted with the intent to arouse or satisfy the defendant's own sexual desires. Parrott v. State, 318 Ga. App. 545, (2012).
There was no penetration. Penetration is not required for child molestation to occur. Further, skin-to-skin contact is not required for a conviction either. Raymond v. State, 232 Ga. App. 228, (1998).
The victim consented. The Court has found that if the victim was less than 16 years old, then they cannot consent to acts that constitute child molestation. Therefore, even if they did consent, they do not have the ability, so the actions will still be considered child molestation. Driggers v. State, 291 Ga. App. 841, (2008).
No force was used. A conviction for aggravated child molestation does not require proof of force. It only requires proof of child molestation that physically injures a child or involves an act of sodomy, and neither of those requires a proof of force. House v. State, 236 Ga. App. 405, (1999).
Aggravated Child Molestation carries substantial penalties. If you have been wrongfully charged, contact Lawson and Berry from the very beginning. Every minute you don't is a chance that your side is not heard. We are here to help 24/7 so contact us today.