Have you Been Charged with Incest 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 Incest
O.C.G.A. § 16-6-22 states that a person commits the offense of incest when such person engages in sexual intercourse or sodomy, with a person whom he or she knows he or she is related to either by blood or by marriage as follows:
- Father and child or stepchild
- Mother and child or stepchild;
- Siblings of the whole blood or of the half blood;
- Grandparent and grandchild of the whole blood or of the half blood;
- Aunt and niece or nephew of the whole blood or of the half blood; or
- Uncle and niece or nephew of the whole blood or of the half blood.
Case Law on Incest in Georgia
Defendant had a girlfriend who ended up getting pregnant with his daughter. They discontinued their relationship but got married when the daughter was 14 years old. Defendant then adopted her. The mother got divorced from the defendant and left their daughter with him. He commenced sexual relations with her when she was 16 years old, and they had five children together. During the trial, defendant attempted to argue that he did not know she was his biological daughter. However, evidence was presented showing that mother informed the defendant that the victim was his daughter. Therefore, he was convicted of incest. Pyburn v. State, 301 Ga. App. 372, (2009).
Penalty for an Incest Conviction in Georgia
A person convicted of incest will be guilty of a felony. The punishment will be a prison term between ten and thirty years.
However, if the child was under 14 years old, then the prison term gets escalated to between twenty-five and fifty years.
In addition to prison, a person convicted of incest will be required to register as a sex offender.
Defenses to Incest in Georgia
It was not a relationship defined the statute. If there is a relationship that is not explicitly defined by the statute, then it should not be considered incest. An example is a step-grandfather and step granddaughter relationship. It is not included in the statutory definition and therefore will not be considered incest. Glisson v. State, 188 Ga. App. 152 (1988). Another example is a brother and step-sister relationship. It is not specifically named in the statute and therefore it was not incest.
Lack of knowledge that they are related. If the defendants reasonably believed that they were not related and had no reason to suspect, then they will not be guilty of incest. To be considered incest, the defendant must know or have reason to know they are engaging in intercourse with someone who is related to them.
They did not engage in sexual intercourse or sodomy. Any evidence that sexual intercourse or sodomy did not occur would be greatly beneficial to getting an incest charge dropped or dismissed.
What are Not Defenses
The intercourse was consensual. The Court has found that if the relationship was with a child under the age of 14 years old and they consented, that the consent is invalid because a child that age does not have the capacity to consent. Therefore, it will be considered incest. Walker v. State, 234 Ga. App. 40, (1998).
The defendant was unaware they were related. If the defendant had reason to know they were related to the victim but choose to ignore it and claim innocence that will not be a defense.
Incest in Georgia carries a significant amount of prison time and is not to be taken lightly. A charge is not the same as a conviction so let the Law Office of Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Attorneys help you with your case. We have over 20 years of experience in criminal law so let our experience work for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.