Have you Been Charged with Rape in Georgia?
Sexual crimes carry harsh punishments and negative prejudice from the community. Although a charge is not the same as a conviction, many people treat the two similarly. The Law Office of Richard Lawson and his team of Georgia Attorneys care about you how you are treated. They will ensure you get the best defense possible and will carefully consider your needs. Further, our Lawyers have more than 50 combined years of experience in criminal law. Let that experience work for you! Call us today for a free consultation.
Georgia Law on Rape
O.C.G.A. § 16-6-1 outlines that a person commits rape when he has carnal knowledge of a female forcibly against her will or a female less than 10 years of age.
The statute outlines carnal knowledge when there is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.
The terms “forcibly” and “against her will” are two separate elements of proving rape. The term “forcibly” means acts of physical force, threats of death or physical bodily harm, or mental coercion, such as intimidation. The term “against her will” means without consent. Pollard v. State, 260 Ga. App. 540, (2003). Therefore, force does not have to be exerted by the use of physical violence, but can also be asserted through threats of which cause the female to give in against her will. Any consent that is induced through fear or intimidation does not amount to consent in law and does not prevent the intercourse from being considered rape. Thomas v. State, 159 Ga. App. 249, (1981).
Many people talk about the crime of statutory rape. Statutory rape can occur when someone has sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16. The law states that a person under 16 years of age cannot legally consent to sex. Therefore, having sex with them violates the statute.
Georgia Case Law
An example of rape without physical force can be found in the case of Johnson v. State, 216 Ga. App. 858, (1995). There, the defendant committed rape among other crimes against the minor daughter of his girlfriend. During the trial, Defendant argued that he should not be guilty of rape because the state failed to prove force. However, the Court found that Defendant's threat to the nine-year-old victim that she would “get a spanking” if she told anyone was sufficient to prove force in a prosecution for rape. Therefore, the conviction for rape was affirmed.
What Has to be Proven
To be convicted of rape, the State must show that a suspect is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That involves proving that the touching was forcibly and against the victim's will.
Penalty for a Rape Conviction in Georgia
If a defendant is convicted of rape by taking their case to trial, they can face either the death penalty, life in prison without parole, or a statutory minimum of 25 years in prison followed by lifetime probation. An experienced criminal defense attorney can many times negotiate a punishment less than what is required by statute.
In addition to prison, fines, or both, a person over 21 years of age that is convicted of rape must register as a sex offender with the state of Georgia for life.
Defenses to a Rape Charge
Consent: If the two parties were of age and the alleged victim agreed to the sex, then there is no crime. Lack of consent is a necessary element of the offense of rape.
Impotency: Showing physical evidence that the accused lacks the physical capacity to have intercourse can be used as a defense. However, if the State can confirm that penetration occurred, even if slight, this will rebut the defense of impotence.
Failure to Withdraw Consent: The alleged victim agreed to have sexual intercourse and failed to retract this consent.
Lack of DNA Evidence: Where a victim seeks medical attention immediately after the alleged rape, where there is no DNA evidence of penetration or the act occurring, this can be used as a defense to show the accused act never occurred.
Prior Consented Sexual Activity: Although this is not a defense, it can be used to mitigate the punishment. Showing the accused and alleged victim had consensual intercourse on prior occasions is helpful.
What are not Defenses
I didn't use physical force to get the victim to consent: Even if the act were a threat or mental coercion, that would still be considered as forcibly. Furthermore, the crime will be considered rape.
The victim was the wife of the defendant: O.C.G.A. §16-6-1 states the fact that the person raped was the wife of the defendant, will not be a defense.
Consent: If the victim consented due to fear or intimidation, then that consent does not count, and the action is still a crime.
There was only slight penetration: The amount of penetration necessary need only be slight. There is no requirement that the vagina shall be entered or the hymen ruptured. It would be sufficient if there were entering of the anterior of the organ, known as the vulva or labia. Hall v. State, 29 Ga. App. 383, (1923). In addition, it is not necessary that semen is found in the victim's body.
The woman consented; she was just intoxicated: Sexual intercourse with a woman whose will is temporarily lost from intoxication, or unconsciousness arising from the use of drugs or other cause, or sleep, is rape. Paul v. State, 144 Ga. App. 106, (1977).
Don't wait and let a rape conviction affect you and your loved one's future. Contact the Law Office of Richard Lawson and his team of Georgia Rape Attorneys today and schedule a free consultation. We are here to help you nights, weekends, and ever holidays.