Every sex crime or sexual offense charge is serious. Considering the harsh penalties that may be imposed for a sex crime conviction, it is essential that you exercise your right to counsel as soon as possible. Many people are falsely accused of a serious sex crime, and experienced criminal defense representation is necessary to avoid a wrongful conviction. One of the significant penalties associated with a sex crime conviction is registration as a sex offender on the registry. This penalty may be imposed for life. The stakes couldn't be higher and that is why you need a Georgia Sex Crimes Attorney to assist with your case.
Additionally, the offender's reputation will be hurt by this charge, and their personal or professional relationships may also be hindered. Here at Lawson and Berry, we want you to understand that a charge is not the same as a conviction! You have many defenses at your disposal, and we will explore every possible angle to bolster your case. We study new case law and keep abreast of Georgia Sex Crime Laws to ensure we give you the best possible defense.
Kimberly Berry receives sex crime questions every day from clients. We have included answers to some of the most frequently asked sex crime questions in Georgia we receive. However, these answers do not replace speaking with us. If you have any questions or think a defense applies to your case, contact us immediately. By calling us from the beginning, it helps preserve the evidence and keep the incident fresh for witnesses. We are able to get the most accurate information if we can do it at the very beginning.
Kimberly Berry is one of Georgia's top-rated criminal defense attorneys. Trusting her with your case will be the best decision you make! While we are providing extensive information about sex crimes in Georgia, please contact one of our Atlanta Sex Crime Lawyers and see how we can help with our situation. The purpose of this page is to provide you with some of the most commonly asked questions about sex crimes in Georgia. We hope that you find these Georgia Sex Crime FAQs helpful.
What is a sex crime?
Sex crimes refer to criminal offenses of a sexual nature that generally involve illegal or coerced sexual conduct against another individual. They can include misdemeanor violations such as public indecency, prostitution, masturbation for hire, giving massages in places used for lewdness, and publication of the name or identity of a female rape victim. There are also numerous felony sex offenses. These include aggravated sexual battery, incest, marrying a bigamist, sexual assault, enticing a child for indecent purposes, child molestation, statutory rape, sodomy, and rape.
Each state has its own laws prohibiting various types of sex crimes, and each state has its own time limit (statute of limitations) in which victims of sex crimes can file a lawsuit against the alleged offender. For more information on the specific time limits for each offense, please visit our Georgia Sex Crime Laws page.
People convicted of sex crimes face the requirement that the accused register as a sex offender. This consequence is in addition to the prison sentence or fines they are required to pay.
A sex crime conviction is extremely serious and requires the immediate attention of an experienced attorney.
What is the age of consent in Georgia?
The age of consent is 16 years of age in Georgia. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which a person is considered legally old enough to consent to sexual activity. Therefore, people that are 15 years or younger in Georgia are not legally able to consent to sexual activity. Participation in such an event may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
The penalty for violating the statutory rape laws in Georgia are quite stiff. The punishment for statutory rape can range from 1 to 20 years in prison. However, if the accused is over 21 years of age, then the penalty increases to between 10 and 20 years in prison.
There is an exception if the parties are under 18 and there is less than a four-year age difference between them. While it is still illegal for them to have sex in Georgia, it is treated as a far less severe crime. It will be considered a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
Is there a statute of limitations for sex crimes in Georgia?
When a crime has been committed, there is a window of time that a state has to charge the perpetrator. These time periods are called statutes of limitations. These vary by state, situation, and crime. Most of the time the “clock” starts right after the crime occurs. However, if the victim is a child, the clock might start once the crime was discovered instead of when it occurred. For instance, if the victim was a child when the offense happened and did not realize the criminal nature until later in life.
Most sexually based offenses in Georgia have a seven-year statute of limitations. Crimes following under this category include aggravated sexual battery, statutory rape, child molestation, incest if the child is under 18, and enticing a child for indecent purposes.
What are the most common sex crimes?
There are numerous sex crimes but the most common ones across The United States are rape, sexual assault, prostitution, public indecency, rape, and child enticement. Depending on the people involved and the severity of the crime, these charges can either be misdemeanors or felonies. However, the majority of Georgia sex crimes are considered felonies that come with hefty fines and prolonged prison sentences. Additionally, they require the accused to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life.
A sex crime charge is something that must be taken seriously! While we have provided information about sex crimes in Georgia, it does not replace the need to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about how they can assist with your case.
What if my alleged rape or statutory rape was consensual?
Sexual consent means that a person actively agreed to engage in sexual activity with another. There are laws about who can legally consent and who can't. There are also laws to protect minors (people under the age of 18) from being pressured into sex with someone older than them.
If the alleged rape was between two individuals who were over 18 years of age, there must be sufficient evidence demonstrating that the alleged victim consented. We have helped many clients establish consent when they were wrongfully charged with rape. However, a lack of evidence proving consent can lead to a conviction.
In Georgia, the age of consent is 16 years. If the alleged statutory rape was with a person who was under 16 years of age, then it is immaterial whether they consented to sex. Under Georgia law, they are not of the legal age to consent, and even they did agree to the sexual act; it would not be a valid argument in Court because they have not obtained the age to consent.
Can I be arrested for public indecency for urinating in public?
Yes, the crime would be considered public indecency. Exposure of sexual organs in a public place is enough to violate the statute.
The essential elements of indecent exposure or public indecency involve intentionally exposing oneself in public or performing lewd acts in a public place. Other than urinating in public, it also includes sexual intercourse in public and appearing in partial or complete nudity in public.
While public indecency is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia, you may have to register as a sex offender. What may seem like a joke can end up impacting you for the rest of your life.
The good news is that there are always defenses at your disposal. If the people who saw the conduct consent to the viewing, that would be a defense. If the exposure was accidental, that could also be a defense. Public indecency requires that the display be intentional so evidence negating this element would be very beneficial to your case.
For more information about public indecency or other sex crime questions, please contact us.
Is it statutory rape if the person lies about their age?
O.C.G.A. § 16-6-3 defines statutory rape as when a person engages in sexual intercourse with any person under 16 years of age, and that person is not his or her spouse.
Across most of the United States, yes, it is still considered statutory rape even if the victim lied about their age. Some states allow this defense, but Georgia is not one of them.
A mistake of age is not a defense to statutory rape charges. Because statutory rape is a “per se” offense, it doesn't take into account whether the person believed the victim to be of age. The fact that they are underage will be enough to sustain a conviction. However, if the victim lied about his or her age, and the accused exercised reasonable judgment in believing they were of age, this evidence can be used to mitigate the punishment.
One of the best defenses to raise if faced with this situation is to present evidence showing that no sexual activity. If there is proof supporting this argument, then no crime will have occurred. Also, if both the accused and the alleged victim were under 16, then a charge of statutory rape may be negated.
What is the difference between rape and sexual assault?
Rape and sexual assault are often used interchangeably, but in fact, these two crimes greatly differ from each other. In Georgia, rape occurs when “a person has carnal knowledge of a female forcibly against her will or a female less than ten years of age.” O.C.G.A. § 16-6-1 It will be considered a felony and the offender may face the death penalty, life in prison, or a minimum of 25 years in prison following by lifetime probation. Rape requires that there be unwanted penetration whether it is oral, anal, or vaginal.
Sexual assault occurs when a person who has supervisory or disciplinary authority over another engages in sexual contact with them. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-5.1(b) People deemed to have supervisory or disciplinary authority include teachers, principals, probation officers, law enforcement officers, psychotherapists, or hospital employees who are treating a patient. The contact that falls under sexual assault includes fondling and molestation. It also includes rape but does not have to rise to that level.
Can a husband be convicted of a sex-based crime against his wife?
The short answer is yes. Georgia law makes it clear that being in a relationship or being married is not a defense to a rape charge. If you were forced to have sex without your consent or were touched without permission, then that is considered rape in Georgia even if it was done by a spouse.
If you have questions about this or would like more information about Georgia sex crimes, please reach out to our office immediately. We understand that it is scary to be charged with a sex crime and you may not know who to turn to. Rest assured, we will take your case every bit as serious as you do and we will fight to achieve the result you desire! Call now for more information.
What happens when an allegation of a sex crime is reported to the police?
Generally, an investigating officer is assigned to the case, and they put a case together for the district attorney to review. Then the alleged victims are interviewed. They make contact witnesses to corroborate your story or the victim's story. They will question you, and the results of the police investigation are given to the district attorney.
Whatever stage you are at in the criminal process, you need to hire experienced representation. Kimberly Berry is one of Georgia's top-rated criminal defense lawyers, and she has over a decade of experience dedicated to criminal defense. She understands how the process can be overwhelming and that you may feel everyone is against us. But we are here for you! Contact Kimberly for more information about Georgia sex crimes.
What if we never actually had sex?
Yes. This is a common question we receive from clients. Multiple sex crimes do not require that the parties have intercourse for a crime to have occurred. Sexual assault by a person with supervisory or disciplinary authority is one of those crimes. Sexual assault requires that sexual contact occurs between the parties. This does not have to rise to the level of intercourse but can include any sexual contact that involves intimate body parts between two unmarried people.
Another crime that does not require penetration is child molestation. An inappropriate touching of a child can be enough for a conviction.
Even though neither of these crimes requires sex to have occurred, the punishments are severe. Many people believe the misconception that they cannot be convicted if intercourse did not ensue and are shocked when they hear otherwise at trial. Call now if this applies to you and let us evaluate all of your options!
What is a sexually dangerous predator?
Georgia law does not continue to label people as sexually dangerous predators, but in the past, it was a designation given to some offenders. It refers to a people who were designated between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 2006. A sexually dangerous predator as defined by O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12(e) includes:
- People convicted on or after July 1, 1996, of a dangerous sexual offense.
- Persons previously convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor and may be released from prison or placed on parole, supervised released, or probation on or after July 1, 1996.
- Persons who have previously been convicted of a sexually violent offense or a dangerous sexual offense and may be released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 1996.
- Persons who are a resident of Georgia who intends to reside in this state and who is convicted under the laws of another state or the United States, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or in a tribal court of a sexually violent offense, a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor on or after July 1, 1999, or a dangerous sexual offense on or after July 1, 1996.
- A nonresident who changes residence from another state or territory of the United States or any other place to Georgia who is required to register as a sexual offender under federal law, military law, tribal law, or the laws of another state or territory, or who has been convicted in this state of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offense.
Do we need to hire an investigator in a Georgia Sex Crimes case?
In many cases, yes, we advise our clients to hire an investigator. It is important to have a third-party interview witnesses and have answers to important questions that they can later testify to in court. Remember, your attorney cannot be a witness in your case. An investigator can be extremely beneficial during the trial because then we can hold people down to their answer that they provided to the investigator. A discrepancy in information can make a witness look less credible or could result in evidence being thrown out if there are conflicting sources. In addition, it is vital to investigate family members or other close friends for motive. We have represented hundreds of innocent clients that were set up by people close to them or blamed for an action they did not commit.
Investigators will utilize unique techniques to collect data and information surrounding your case. Before hiring an investigator, it is important to discuss your matter with an attorney. Kimberly Berry is here to answer any questions you have and to explore whether an investigator is needed for your situation.
Can a person charged with a sex crime get a bond?
Yes, they can as long as the crime does not fall under the category where a superior court judge has to issue the bond. A bond is an assurance that the accused gives the state while in prison promising to come to court when required. The suspect has the choice to choose what kind of bond they would like to use. There are three types of bonds: cash, surety, and property bonds.
Cash bonds are just what you would expect. They are the quickest way to get someone out of jail but many times people do not have cash on hand, and that is why they have to use a surety bond. However, cash bonds are not returned at the end of the case.
A surety bond is an agreement between three parties where the bonding company (surety) agrees to pay the bond in return for the accused attending their court appearances. If the accused fails to show up for court, then the court receives the full amount from the surety, and the company generally goes after the defendant to recover the payments made on their behalf.
The last type of bond is a property bond. This occurs when the accused pledges that in exchange for their release, they will encumber some of their property. They can produce a warranty deed or another statement showing the property's fair market value. We rarely recommend property bonds because until the case is completed, the property cannot be sold, refinanced, or divided. However, if the bond is too high for a family member to post or they were unable to secure a surety bond, then a property bond will be the last option.
For more information about superior court bonds, please visit our page here.
What is a Superior Court Bond for sex crimes?
There are several crimes where only a superior court judge can set the bond. O.C.G.A. § 17-6-1 outlines these crimes, and they include:
- Aggravated sodomy
- Armed robbery
- Aggravated child molestation
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- Kidnapping, arson, aggravated assault, or burglary if the person, at the time of the alleged act, had previously been convicted of, was on probation or parole with respect to, or was on bail for one of the offenses listed, or
- Manufacturing, distributing, delivering, dispensing, administering, or selling any controlled substance classified as a Schedule I or Schedule II drug.
Is there a way to manage media attention or social media attention?
Unfortunately, no. Due to the first amendment right of free speech and freedom of the press, there are very little ways to control what the media says about you. We understand that this is frustrating and while you want to prevent them from disseminating your information; there is little you can do to stop them. While you can't control what they say, you can control what you say and how you respond. If you were wrongfully charged with a crime, then let's attack that in the courtroom. If inaccurate facts are being reported, we can try to address those, but it can be dangerous because you don't want to reveal any other information. We advise that you focus on fighting your case and building your defense instead of trying to manage your media.
Can I sue the state if my reputation was damaged?
Generally, no. You could not sue the state if they had probable cause. Georgia has a very low standard of probable cause, so it does not take much to meet that standard.
Can I sue the state if I am a public figure who was defamed?
There are two main types of defamation cases: libel and slander. Both involve harmful statements that could cause damage to a person's reputation. Libel requires that the information is in writing or somehow published. With slander, the only requirement is that the defamatory statement be spoken to a third party. The majority of the time you are unable to file a claim against the State if you were defamed. However, you could file against the individual who made the statements.
For example, if a person falsely accused a public figure of rape but later admitted that her accusation was false and dropped the charges, you may be able to file a lawsuit if you can demonstrate that your reputation suffered.
How long will it take to resolve my sex crime case in Georgia?
This is a frequently asked questions from our clients. However, there is no set answer. While some cases may take 3-6 months, others may take years. It is difficult to predict how long your case can take. We understand the stress criminal proceedings can put on you and your family. Kimberly Berry will take the time to explain the entire criminal process to you and what you can expect from every stage. She will be available to answer any questions you have whenever you need her. The criminal justice system is not made for self-service. Your best outcome can only be obtained by working with a lawyer who deals with these cases every day. Call now for more answers to frequently asked Georgia sex crimes questions.
What is the rape shield law?
Many of our clients have heard about the rape shield law and wonder if it would apply to their case. O.C.G.A. § 24-4-412 is the statue that outlines the rape shield law, and it prohibits specific evidence from being introduced at trial. Evidence relating to the alleged victim's past sexual behavior is generally admissible.
This law was created to protect potential victims of sexual offenses from character attacks related to the guilt or innocence of the accused. For instance, the rape shield law may prevent a victim's “past sexual history” from being admitted. Other evidence that is excluded from the trial may include proof of the alleged victim's marital history, mode of dress, sexual morals contrary to community standards, and general reputation for promiscuity. Neither the defense nor the prosecution may offer evidence in under this statute.
The rape shield law is just one example of why it is critical to hire an experienced Georgia Sex Crimes Attorney. A general practitioner who does not practice criminal law on a daily basis may not be sure how to fight an alleged victim trying to prevent evidence being admitted under this law. It is in your best interest to hire a lawyer that works with these laws every day and knows how to make the rules work to your advantage!
What are the Romeo and Juliet laws?
For statutory rape charges, many clients want to know if they fall under the Romeo and Juliet provision. Close in age exemptions were historically put in place to prevent the prosecution of people who engage in consensual sexual activity when both parties are significantly close in age to each other but one or both parties are below the age of consent. Georgia does not have a “Romeo and Juliet” or “close in age” provision where the offender is not charged with a crime if they fall within a specific age requirement.
Because Georgia does not have these types, it is possible for two individuals under the age of 16 who willingly engage in sexual intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape. However, this is extremely rare. Moreover, there are no protections when sexual conduct is between a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old. It is still illegal for them to have sex in Georgia, but it is treated as a far less severe crime. If the victim is 14-16 years of age and the accused is either 18 or no more than four years older than the victim, he or she will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Being charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony statutory rape charge is a massive win for your case. The penalty for a felony statutory rape charge can range from 1 to 20 years in prison. If the perpetrator is over 21, the sentence increases to between 10-20 years in prison. However, the penalty for a misdemeanor rape charge is up to $1,000 in fines, up to one year in jail, or both.
For more information about statutory rape or questions about sex crimes in Georgia, please contact one of our knowledgeable attorneys immediately.
Do you have to give a specimen as requested?
When charged with a sexually based offense, many clients ask if they are required to provide a specimen. The short answer is that if the state has a warrant, then yes, you have to give a sample. In cases where there is not a warrant, it can get a little bit complicated. If you have been arrested, the police are permitted to force you to provide fingerprints, a handwriting sample, or a voice sample at the station. These are considered evidence of physical characteristics.
If you think your rights were violated during any point of the arrest process, contact Kimberly Berry today. Our office has conducted multiple trainings for officers to make sure they comply with the law when making an arrest and we know exactly what is required. Do not trust a general practitioner or someone inexperienced with criminal law with your case! Representation can make all the difference so contact us now and find out why we are Georgia's top-rated criminal defense firm.
Do I have to speak with DFCS?
If the Division of Family and Child Services (DFCS) shows up on your doorstep and informs you about accusations received against you, you need to take it seriously. Even if it sounds absurd, do not laugh off their questions. If they use words such as neglect or abuse, these are broad terms that cover a lot of offenses. Be very careful about what you say! If DFCS ends up at your door and claims there have been sexual allegations against you, you need to call an attorney immediately. Be polite to the DFCS personal and investigators but remember that anything you say can be used against you. It may be best to politely decline to comment, so that you are able to defend your case later on. Call us immediately if you find yourself in this situation.
What are the different types of sexual abuse?
Georgia has a large number of sex crimes, and it can be difficult to ascertain the difference between each one. While we try and provide answers to frequently asked questions about sex crimes in Georgia, please visit the respective pages for each offense to learn more about them.
Sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape are all different crimes under Georgia law, but many people are unaware of the difference.
Sexual battery occurs when a person intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate body parts of another without the consent of another. Intercourse does not have to occur to be charged with sexual battery. Sexual battery will be charged as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. This means that the fines will be capped at $5,000 and the prison term will be up to one year.
Sexual assault occurs when a person with supervisory or disciplinary authority over another engages in sexual contact with them. Similarly, to sexual battery, intercourse does not have to occur to violate the statute. Sexual assault will be deemed a felony in Georgia punished by a prison term between one and twenty years, a fine up to $10,000, or both.
Lastly, rape occurs when a person has carnal knowledge of a female forcibly against her will or a female less than ten years of age. Rape is considered a felony and is punished by either the death penalty, life in prison without parole, or a statutory minimum of 25 years in prison followed by lifetime probation.
We hope this information helps give you some basic information on the differences between the crimes. If you have any questions about sex crimes in Georgia, please reach out to our office.
Sex Offender Information in Georgia
What is the sex offender registry?
A sex offender registry is a list of all convicted sex offenders in a state. Individuals convicted of certain sex crimes in Georgia are required to register. Some of the information contained in the registry is made available to the public. The information open to the public varies by jurisdiction but generally includes the offender's name, current address, offenses, and a photograph of them. The offender must register with the sheriff's office in the county in which they reside within 72 hours of moving to that county.
A failure to register as a sex offender comes with significant penalties. It can result in a prison term between one and thirty years for a first conviction. A second conviction for failing to register will be a prison sentence between five and thirty years.
How to register as a sex offender in Georgia?
O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12(f) outlines the process as to how a sexual offender must register. A sex offender must register in person with the sheriff of the county in which they intend to reside within 72 hours of their release from prison. If the offender is homeless, they must still register in person with the sheriff of the county in which they sleep within 72 hours of their release from prison.
A sex offender must renew their information with the sheriff of the county in which they reside by reporting in person to the sheriff within 72 hours of their birthday. They will be photographed and fingerprinted.
If the offender moves then they must notify the sheriff of the county in which they formerly resided and notify the sheriff in the county they relocated to. If it is the same county, the offender must notify the sheriff of their new address.
It is important to know that you must register whether or not the crime occurred in Georgia.
What happens if I am a registered sex offender in Georgia and I move out of state?
Similarly, to how Georgia's registration process works, a sex offender who moves to another state must register their new address with the sheriff of the county where they last resided and also register with the designated law enforcement agency in the new state. This registration must take place within 72 hours of establishing residence in the new state.
The registration provisions do not come into play if the sex offender is there for a vacation, wedding, or another temporary visit. They must register after establishing residence in that state.
How does being registered as a sex offender impact my life?
Being on the registry will impact where you live, where you work, and where you go. It can also have implications for your family as well. While the criminal consequences are that you have to register in any county you live, and you must report whether you are going to be a student, there are other consequences that sex offenders face. We have many clients that have suffered an inability to get the professional license they desire, financial problems, not being able to take your children public places, and shame in the community.
We want to help you avoid these consequences for the rest of your life! We have extensive experience with defending sex crimes and have been successful in getting charges reduced or dismissed. While this information about sex crimes in Georgia may be helpful, it does not replace speaking with one of our attorneys. Call now!
Who must register as a sex offender?
Generally, most adults that have been convicted of a sex offense in Georgia must register with the state as a sex offender. O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12(e) gives these categories for who must register:
- Persons convicted on after July 1, 1996, of a dangerous sexual offense;
- Persons previously convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor and may be released from prison or placed on parole, supervised released, or probation on or after July 1, 1996.
- Persons who have previously been convicted of a sexually violent offense or a dangerous sexual offense and may be released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 1996;
- Persons who are a resident of Georgia who intends to reside in this state and who is convicted under the laws of another state or the United States, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or in a tribal court of a sexually violent offense, a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor on or after July 1, 1999, or a dangerous sexual offense on or after July 1, 1996;
- A nonresident who changes residence from another state or territory of the United States or any other place to Georgia who is required to register as a sexual offender under federal law, military law, tribal law, or the laws of another state or territory, or who has been convicted in this state of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offense;
- Is a nonresident sexual offender who enters this state for the purpose of employment or any other reason for a period exceeding 14 consecutive days or for an aggregate period of time exceeding 30 days during any calendar year regardless of whether such sexual offender is required to register under federal law, military law, tribal law, or the laws of another state or territory;
- Is a nonresident sexual offender who enters this state for the purpose of attending school as a full-time or part-time student regardless of whether such sexual offender is required to register under federal law, military law, tribal law, or the laws of another state or territory.
Misdemeanor convictions and juvenile offenses are exempt from the registration status. In Georgia, the crimes that could result in the offender having to register include:
- Aggravated assault with intent to rape
- Aggravated sodomy
- Child molestation
- Aggravated child molestation
- Enticing a child for indecent purposes
- Aggravated sexual battery
- A second conviction for sexual battery
- Sexual exploitation of children
Are juveniles required to register?
According to O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12(9)(C), juveniles are not required to register unless they are tried and convicted as an adult.
This is excellent news for a juvenile because now they have a chance to start over and do not have the registry hanging over them as they try to continue their future.
If you would like more information about juvenile sex crimes, please let us know.
Are sex offenders allowed to be on social media?
Among other restrictions, convicted sex offenders are not allowed to use Facebook or other social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram prohibit registered sex offenders from using their services.
What happens if a person fails to register as a sex offender?
There are strict penalties for those who fail to comply with sex offender registration requirements. Any individual who fails to register will be guilty of a felony. The punishment for a first conviction will be a prison term between one and thirty. A second conviction will result in a prison term between five and thirty years.
A person can be convicted of failing to register if they provide false information or fails to respond to the sheriff within 72 hours before their birthday.
We have had numerous clients call us after they accidentally forgot to register or check in with the sheriff. Unfortunately, failing to register is a strict liability crime, and it is immaterial whether it was an accident or intentional.
However, there are always Georgia Criminal Defenses that can be used to help defend your case. For more information, please see our page on failing to register as a sex offender in Georgia.
In Georgia, is a person on the sex offender registry for life?
In Georgia, yes the sex offender is generally on the registry for life. However, they can be removed by a court order or by other legal means. For more information, please visit our sex offender page.
Do sex offenders have residency or employment restrictions?
A person convicted of a sexual offense after June 4, 2003 that forced them to register as a sex offender has significant restrictions on where they can live and work. They are prohibited from living or working 1,000 feet from child care facilities, churches, schools, or areas where minors congregate. This means that they cannot establish a residence within 1,000 feet of one of these places but also they cannot be employed or volunteer within 1,000 of an area where minors congregate.
O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 details that sex offenders are barred from going to “areas where minors congregate.” This includes public parks, private parks, recreation facilities, playgrounds, skating rinks, neighborhood centers, gymnasiums, school bus stops, public libraries, and public and community swimming pools.
However, there is one exception to this rule. If a registered individual owns or leases property or has established employment and a child care facility, church, school, or area where minors congregate later locates itself within 1,000 feet of that property, the individual will be allowed to remain there without violating the statute.
Hiring a Lawyer
When should I contact a lawyer?
Hiring an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible is the most critical step anyone accused of a sex offense in Georgia can take. Even if you have not been charged yet, but have reason to believe you will be, do not hesitate to contact us. All of our skilled Georgia attorneys will be able to properly advise you on how best to proceed in any area of sexual offense. We have years of experience defending rape cases, sexual assault cases, sexual battery cases, statutory rape cases, and more. A lawyer can make sure your rights are protected throughout the process and will fight to obtain the outcome you desire. Call now.
What should I do if I have been falsely accused of a sex crime?
Hire an attorney immediately! The importance of hiring a lawyer from the very beginning cannot be understated! Hiring an attorney from the beginning means that we can interview witnesses and review the evidence close to the time of the alleged incident. Witnesses will have it fresh on their mind, and we may find proof that the police missed.
Here at Lawson and Berry, we never assume guilt because we know there are many false allegations. Just because you are charged with a crime does not mean you are guilty! We understand that you may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time or are being targeted. We make sure our clients are able to exercise their rights to the fullest extent of the law.
Why should I hire a sex crime lawyer?
Anyone facing sex offense charges in Georgia should hire a lawyer. They can help protect your rights and may be able to lessen the penalties by negotiating with the prosecution. A lawyer can analyze all of the available options to put you in the best position to defend yourself and avoid these ramifications.
The most important part of hiring an attorney is to make sure they have experience with defending sex crimes. Many offices hold themselves out to a jack of all trades and advertise that they defend all types of crimes. This can be dangerous because since they do not delve into criminal law every day, they may miss some of the intricate details. That is why Lawson and Berry has dedicated attorneys for sex crimes. They are here to answer any questions about Georgia sex crimes you may have and can walk you through the process. Call now for a free case evaluation.
What is the benefit of having an attorney dedicated to sex crime laws?
Many attorneys have some experience in criminal defense but do not practice it exclusively. If your attorney does not practice criminal law every day, they will miss the nuances that can make the difference in your case. Kimberly Berry works with people accused of sex crimes every day and knows where gaps in the State's arguments generally arise.
When hiring an attorney, it is important to ask the following questions to make sure you are hiring the right attorney:
- How long have you practiced in this jurisdiction?
- How many sex crime cases have you handled?
- Have you litigated sex crime cases?
- What types of motions have you litigated in sex crime cases?
- Do you have a relationship with the authorities and/or prosecutors?
- Do you work with an independent investigator?
- And you willing and able to file an appeal if needed?
- How do you prepare for trial in cases similar to mine?
The answers you receive should make you feel confident that you are choosing an attorney that will fully advocate on your behalf! If they do not supply concrete and comforting information, you need to speak with another attorney. Do not feel sorry about being picky about your attorney. It is your future in the balance!
Does hiring an attorney prevent me from being investigated?
No, however, all questioning can be halted based on Miranda vs. Arizona. There is a significant advantage to hiring an attorney early! We advise our clients and the public to never speak to the police. Please read our article detailing this but if you have any immediate questions, call us.
Georgia Sex Crime Defense Questions
How to fight a sex charge in Georgia?
If you are being investigated or have already been arrested and charged with a sex crime in Georgia, you can still beat your charges! With the help of an experienced lawyer, we can help you avoid prison time and having to register as a sex offender.
Winning sex crime cases in Georgia involves a thorough and extensive investigation. False allegations are frequently made by disgruntled family members during times of divorce, child custody battles, and other times of family stress.
Unfortunately, with sex crimes, people often assume guilt before innocence. Thus, your attorney has to do most of the investigative work to build evidence that “proves your innocence” despite the fact that the law says you are innocent until proven guilty. We will request and review medical records, interview witnesses, perform background investigations into witnesses, conduct forensic investigations, and gather physical evidence that may have been ignored or overlooked by the police. We use all of these avenues and more to fight your case.
You can fight your sex charge and be successful in Georgia. You just need the right lawyers. Our goal is to clear your name and restore your freedom.
Is consent a defense?
Consent may be a defense to some sex crimes but not all. Crimes such as statutory rape do not take into account whether the victim consented. Even though the individual may have agreed, their agreement is not legally valid because Georgia says the age of consent is 16.
If the parties were of age to consent and the alleged victim agreed to the sexual contact, then no crime has occurred. Evidence to support this argument would be greatly beneficial in helping get the charges dropped. Consent would be a defense to rape, sexual battery, and sodomy.
If the alleged victim consented to the charged activity, call us immediately. We will help prove your innocence!
What are my defenses if I've been accused of a sex crime?
There are numerous defenses that our experience attorneys can use to support your case. Whether it is mistaken identity, consent from the alleged victim, mental incapacity, or innocence, we can help with your case. Every situation is different, and that is why do not employ a “one defense fits all” model that other firms use. We investigate every detail of your case and then build a defense. Not the other way around.
Is entrapment a defense to sex crimes?
Police often uncover sex offenders by posing as prostitutes, underage individuals, or other parties to catch sex offenders while committing (or preparing to commit) a sex crime. Some defendants argue that the police induced them to commit a crime he or she did not intend to commit. Therefore, they try to use entrapment. There have been cases where this argument is successful.
However, it can be a difficult defense to prove because if the defendant intended to commit the crime and the police simply provided a means to do so, then they were not entrapped. The elements of an entrapment defense are complicated and can be difficult to prove without the help of an experienced lawyer. You must contact a Georgia Sex Crime Attorney immediately if you believe that the entrapment defense applies to your case.
Punishment and Post-Conviction
What kind of penalties will I face for a sex crime conviction in Georgia?
The consequences of being convicted of a sex crime in Georgia vary depending on the charged offense. Prison time is a common punishment along with hefty fines. Most sex crimes require that a person register on the state or national sex offender registry if convicted.
Some crimes are charged as misdemeanors which mean the maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. However, the sentence for rape is the death penalty, life in prison, or 25 years in prison followed by lifetime probation.
Because of the severity of the punishments, you need to hire an experienced lawyer. We have tried to provide you with answers to frequently asked Georgia sex crime questions, but your best defense starts with an experienced lawyer. The lawyers at Lawson and Berry have over 50 combined years of criminal defense experience and is here for you. We have tried thousands of cases and are just as skilled in negotiating a deal outside of court as conducting a trial. Our office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your call. We understand that you may need a lawyer's assistance outside of regular business hours and that is why we make ourselves available whenever you need us.
Can a sex offense be removed from my record?
In 2010, Georgia passed new legislation designed to allow some sex offenders to be removed from the registry. Specifically, if the offender has completed all required incarceration, parole, probation, and supervision, and the offender has received a Level 1 (low) risk assessment classification. Then they are able to petition the court to be removed from the registry and the restrictions on employment and residence lifted. If an offender is classified as a Level II, they may still petition the court to be removed but must wait ten years from the time their sentence has been completed. The higher the classification, the more difficult it is to prove to the court that the offender does not pose a substantial risk of future sexual crimes.
In sum, there is a process in which a sex offender can petition the court to be removed from the registry. If you believe you have met the qualifications or have a question, contact our office. We have been successful in helping clients file the petition to be removed from the registry and would love to help you as well.
Are sex crimes misdemeanors or felonies?
Some sex crimes are felonies, while others are considered misdemeanors. Then there are other crimes that could be a misdemeanor or a felony based on the totality of the circumstances. The court may consider the severity of the crime, whether there were injuries, the age of the victim, and whether it was a pattern or one-time occurrence.
Crimes that are generally misdemeanors in Georgia include giving massages in places used for lewdness, public indecency, and prostitution.
Crimes that are usually felonies in Georgia include rape, statutory rape, pimping, bigamy, marring a bigamist, incest, sodomy, and child molestation.
However, as mentioned earlier, the circumstances may dictate whether a crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. A Georgia Sex Crimes Lawyer can help the judge see that it should be considered a misdemeanor and therefore, reduce your punishment.
How long is the jail time for a sex conviction in Georgia?
There are some sex crimes such as public indecency that are misdemeanors with up to one year in jail. However, there are other crimes such as bigamy where the prison term is up to 10 years. The penalty for aggravated child molestation is at least 25 years in prison. Therefore, the prison terms can be significant if convicted of a sex crime.
Can I get my charges reduced?
While every case is different and we cannot guarantee a specific result in each case, we can ensure that you will receive the best representation. Kimberly Berry and the rest of our sex crime lawyers have had great success in getting charges dismissed, reduced, or even prevented charges from being filed. As soon as you contact us, we will ask you what your goals are for your case. Once we understand what is most important to you, we will do everything we can to accomplish those goals.
However, the best start for any case is to contact us from the very beginning. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the more difficult it can be to obtain the result you want. We have still been successful in hundreds of cases where we came into the middle of the case but we would rather be there from the very beginning.
Will this stay on my record for the rest of my life?
While some crimes qualify for record restriction, sex crimes do not fall under that category. If convicted of a sex crime in Georgia, then it will remain on your criminal history for the rest of your life. In addition, you will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life unless you qualify to be removed.
Are people ever acquitted of a sex charge in Georgia?
Yes! Kimberly Berry has had great success helping those wrongfully accused of a sex crime get their charges dismissed! She will fight for your case and zealously represent you.
Even though we have had widespread success in getting charges dismissed, our firm has also been able to help clients completely avoid sex crime charges when we are hired early on in the investigation. Furthermore, it resulted in the client not having criminal charges go on their record, and they were able to avoid serious prison time and having to register as a sex offender.
The key is to hire an attorney early! Even though we have tried to provide information about sex crimes in Georgia, your case will not defend itself. Contact us now for a free case evaluation. Our office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet your needs.