Internet Sex Crimes in Georgia
In recent years, there has been an increase in sexual offenses being committed over the internet. Therefore, legislators and law enforcement have been forced to develop protocols to deal with this new type of crime, and it comes with significant penalties. There are quite a few sexual activities that take place on the internet that are illegal under state or federal law. A person could commit an internet sex crime in Georgia by emailing a minor to solicit sex, sending lewd photographs to minors, or using a false identity to send or solicit nude photographs. Whatever the crime, it is imperative that you hire a Georgia Sex Crime Attorney. You need an experienced attorney to defend you against the charges and discredit the allegations. Kimberly Berry and the rest of our Internet Sex Crime Lawyers in Georgia will thoroughly and vigorously defend your case.
Internet sex crime investigations are carried out by both federal and state law enforcement agencies. A common law enforcement tactic is for an agent or police officer to pose as a minor on a site such as Craig's List and arrange a meeting to engage in sexual activity. Then once the target shows up at the meeting place, they are arrested and charged with any number of offenses. They could be charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation, criminal attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery, computer pornography, etc.
Another way law enforcement arrests people is by visiting sites that contain pornographic images and obtaining the IP addresses of those that are viewing pornographic images of minors. Agents are then able to use the IP address to determine where the user lives, obtain a search warrant for the computers, and then ultimately, arrest the person.
No matter the situation, our Georgia Internet Sex Crime Attorneys are here to help. We have over 50 combined years of exclusive criminal defense experience. Many of our attorneys are former prosecutors. and therefore, they have the insider knowledge that other lawyers lack. Call now for a free case evaluation.
The majority of sex crimes involve underage people. Georgia has several laws that address internet sex crimes but it is essential to first understand the terms used in the statutes. With regard to the term “child” and the use of the internet to exploit them, Georgia law defines “child” as anyone under 16 years of age. O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.2(b)(1) However, when the term “minor” is used, it describes a person under 18 years of age.
In addition, most of the offenses talk about electronic devices. Georgia code defines electronic devices as any device used for the purpose of communicating with a child for sexual purposes or any device used to visually depict a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct, store any page or audio of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct, or transmit any audio or visual image of a child for sexual purposes. O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.2(b)(2) Electronic devices can include a computer, cell phone, thumb drive, video game system, or any other electronic device that can be used in furtherance of exploiting a child for sexual purposes.
Types of Internet Sex Crimes
Child pornography is a serious crime in Georgia. If child pornography images are found on your computer, it can lead to lengthy prison term sentences. These pictures may have been downloaded from the internet, but they could also be stored on your computer through hacking or computer viruses.
O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.2(d)(1) outlines Georgia's internet pornography statute:
It shall be unlawful for any person intentionally or willfully to utilize a computer on-line service or Internet service including but not limited to a local bulletin board service, Internet chat room, e-mail, online messaging service, or other electronic device, to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child or another person believed by such person to be a child to commit any illegal act…relating to the offense of public indecency or to engage in any conduct that by its nature is an unlawful sexual offense against a child.
The penalty for child pornography in Georgia is a felony conviction punished by a prison term between one and twenty years and a fine of no more than $25,000. However, if the victim was 14 or 15 at the time of the offense and the accused is not more than three years older than the victim, the defendant will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
Obscene Internet Contact with a Minor
O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.2(e)(1) states that:
A person commits the offense of obscene Internet contact with a child if he or she has contact with someone he or she knows to be a child or with someone he or she believes to be a child via a computer online service or Internet service, including but not limited to a local bulletin board service, Internet chat room, e-mail, or on-line messaging service, and the contact involves any matter containing explicit verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexually explicit nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse that is intended to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of either the child or the person, provided that no conviction shall be had for a violation of this subsection on the unsupported testimony of a child.
Obscene internet contact involves contacting a minor through email, chat rooms, or other forms of online social networking with the purpose of enticing the minor to commit sexual acts. It is important to note that no physical act has to happen for a crime to have occurred. A person could be convicted just for for their words to a child. A person who violates this statute will be guilty of a felony and will be punished by a prison term between one and ten years and a fine of no more than $10,000. However, if the victim was 14 or 15 years old and the defendant was no more than three years older than the victim, then the accused will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
Providing a Computer Service Used to Exploit a Minor
It shall be unlawful for any owner or operator of a computer on-line service, Internet service, local bulletin board service, or other electronic device that is in the business of providing a service that may be used to sexually exploit a child to intentionally or willfully to permit a subscriber to utilize the service to commit a violation of this Code section, knowing that such person intended to utilize such service to violate this Code section. No owner or operator of a public computer on-line service, Internet service, local bulletin board service, or other electronic device that is in the business of providing a service that may be used to sexually exploit a child shall be held liable on account of any action taken in good faith in providing the aforementioned services.
A person convicted under O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.2(f)(1) will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. In short, this law prohibits owners from allowing subscribers to use the service for child pornography or related offenses. However, they must have known that the person intended to utilize such service to sexually exploit a child. If the owner or operator used good faith in providing these services, then they have not committed a crime. Our Internet Sex Crime Attorneys in Georgia understand these complex statutes and know how to make the law work for you, instead of against you.
Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
There are multiple ways a person can sexually exploit a minor. O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100 outlines eight ways:
(1) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any minor to engage in or assist any other person to engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual medium depicting such conduct.
(2) It is unlawful for any parent, legal guardian, or person having custody or control of a minor knowingly to permit the minor to engage in or to assist any other person to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual medium depicting such conduct.
(3) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any minor to engage in or assist any other person to engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of any performance.
(4) It is unlawful for any parent, legal guardian, or person having custody or control of a minor knowingly to permit the minor to engage in or to assist any other person to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of any performance.
(5) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to create, reproduce, publish, promote, sell, distribute, give, exhibit, or possess with intent to sell or distribute any visual medium which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct.
(6) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to advertise, sell, purchase, barter, or exchange any medium which provides information as to where any visual medium which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct can be found or purchased.
(7) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to bring or cause to be brought into this state any material which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct.
(8) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess or control any material which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct.
A person convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor faces severe consequences. For more information, please see our Georgia sexual exploitation of a minor page. It is important to note that a minor means any person under 18 years of age.
Electronically Furnishing Obscene Materials to Minors
O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.1 states
A person commits the crime of electronically furnishing obscene materials to minors if: (1) Knowing or having good reason to know the character of the material furnished, the person electronically furnishes to an individual whom the person knows or should have known is a minor:
A) Any picture, photograph, drawing, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of a human body which depicts sexually explicit nudity, sexual conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors; or
(B) Any written or aural matter that contains material of the nature described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph or contains explicit verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse;
(2) The offensive portions of the material electronically furnished to the minor are not merely an incidental part of an otherwise non-offending whole;
(3) The material furnished to the minor, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; and
(4) The material furnished to the minor, taken as a whole, is harmful to minors in that it appeals to and incites prurient interest.
A person convicted of electronically furnishing obscene materials to a minor will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
The Penalty for Internet Sex Crimes in Georgia
In addition to prison and fines, sex offender registration will be required. Registration as a sex offender will continue for the rest of your life unless the criteria are met to be removed. Sex offenders have restrictions as to where they can work, live, volunteer, or even visit. Therefore, even though the fines may be paid and the prison terms served, the conviction for a sex crime will continue for the rest of your life if you have to register as a sex offender.
Our Georgia Internet Sex Crime Attorneys understand the seriousness of the consequences you face if charged with one of these crimes. It will have a drastic impact on your future. Our experience defending these types of charges is unmatched, and we can guarantee we will achieve the best outcome in your case. We will try to reduce the charges, get them dismissed, or work out a deal with the prosecution that meets your needs.
There are Numerous Defenses to Internet Sex Crimes in Georgia
We spend time every day studying Georgia Sex Crime Laws in order to find defenses no matter what crime you are charged with. If you fell subject to a hacking, credit card fraud, or identity fraud, all of these things could contribute to the illegal activity. The consequences of a sex crime conviction are fines, prison time and a social stigma that will follow you for the rest of your life. We strive to minimize these consequences and help you get your life back.
We frequently use computer experts when investigating your case to examine whether your computer was hacked into without your knowledge. We can also look into whether someone was using your computer without your permission to conduct illegal activity. This may have been a friend or family member who had access to your computer.
No stone will be left unturned with our investigation of your case. Our Atlanta Sex Crimes Lawyers will diligently look through all the evidence to uncover gaps in the prosecution's arguments. The best way to start your defense is by calling us now!
Trust our aggressive and experienced internet sex crime attorneys in Georgia. Contact us now to discuss how we can help mitigate the charges, social stigma, and other consequences associated with child pornography or other Georgia internet sex crimes. We will provide you a zealous defense to get you the best outcome possible. We are waiting to take your call. Do not wait because your representation depends on it. Call now!