Georgia's Rape Shield Law
Sex crime convictions come with long prison terms, hefty fines, and a permanent social stigma. Defending against these charges can be difficult because of the rules of evidence and also laws such as the rape shield statute. It is important to choose an experienced Georgia lawyer who has a history of success and knows how the intricacies of criminal law. Call today for a free case evaluation.
Rape Shield Statute in Georgia
Georgia's Rape Shield Statute under O.C.G.A. § 24-4-412 was designed to protect potential victims of sexual offenses from character attacks unrelated to whether the defendant committed the crime at issue. Under the rape shield statute, evidence related to the victim's past sexual behavior is generally inadmissible. Past sexual behavior includes evidence pertaining to the alleged victim's promiscuity, marital history, mode of dress, or sexual morals.
However, the court may admit the following evidence relating to the past sexual behavior of the complaining witness:
- Evidence of specific instances of a victim's or complaining witness's sexual behavior, if offered to prove that someone other than the defendant was the source of semen, injury, or other physical evidence;
- Evidence of specific instances of a victim's or complaining witness's sexual behavior with respect to the defendant if it supports an inference that the accused could have reasonably believed that the complaining witness consented to the conduct complained of in the prosecution;
- Evidence of specific instances of a victim's or complaining witness's sexual behavior with respect to the defendant or another person if offered by the prosecutor; and
- Evidence whose exclusion would violate the defendant's constitutional rights.
Cases in which the rape shield statute comes into play include:
- Aggravated assault
- Trafficking persons for labor or sexual servitude
- Aggravated sodomy
- Statutory rape
- Aggravated child molestation
- Child molestation
- Keeping a place of prostitution
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated sexual battery
How to Introduce Evidence Under the Rape Shield Statute
To offer evidence under O.C.G.A. § 24-4-412, the party must file a motion that describes the evidence and states the purpose for which it is being offered. This motion must be filed at least three days before the trial. Before the evidence is admitted, the court will conduct an in camera hearing to discuss the merits of the motion. If the motion is successful, the evidence will be allowed in, but the court can limit what is allowed in and the manner in which the evidence will be introduced.
Your Future is On the Line When Charged with a Sex Crime in Georgia
The consequences of a sex crime conviction can be devastating to your future. The punishment generally includes years in prison, steep fines, as well as mandatory inclusion on the sex offender registry. When facing sex crime charges, you need to act fast to protect your rights and your freedom. You need an experienced Georgia lawyer on your side. Our attorneys have over 50 combined years of experience. We have former prosecutors and medical experts on our team that give us the upper hand. We know how to make the law work for you instead of against you. Call now for a free case evaluation.