Most jurisdictions require a suspect to have inflicted violence, coerced or incapacitated their victim to warrant filing sexual offenses charges against them. Georgia law recognizes that some people simply cannot make an informed decision to consent to sexual activity because of their age, especially if their partner is substantially older than them though. Social factors and mental maturity can lead to one person taking advantage of another, possibly causing lifelong psychological or emotional damage.
Someone accused of having sexually intimate contact with another person who is too young could face allegations of statutory rape. Young adults must reach the age of consent before they can participate in physical intimacy with other people. What is the age of consent established under Georgia law?
Teens need to be 16 to consent to sexual activity in Georgia
Georgia has a somewhat low age of consent. Anyone who’s 16-years-old can theoretically agree to physical contact with someone else. The only real exception to this rule is when there is a marriage between the two people involved.
However, there is a secondary rule which does mitigate some of the risks for young adults. The so-called Romeo and Juliet section of the law makes statutory rape charges misdemeanor offenses for those in a close-age relationship.
Young adults who are 18 years of age or younger will only face misdemeanor offenses for sexual intimacy with someone below the age of consent but at least 14 years old, provided that the age gap is less than four years.
Understanding the rules regarding statutory rape can help people defend themselves against possible sex crime allegations in Georgia.