Sex Crime Laws in Georgia 2022

Sex Crime Laws in Georgia 2022

Georgia Sex Offender Laws 2022

This article is an overview Georgia sex crime and sex offender laws, pending legislation, and punishments for persons convicted of a sex crime.

Sex crime and sex offender laws in Georgia present some of the most challenging types of criminal defense cases. In 2022, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp added new measures that will promote extremely aggressive sentencing of child sex offenders. An article on the WTOC-11 news website stated, ” The House Bill 1188 makes laws that punish sex offenders much stronger. It’s something that the director at the Child Advocacy Center says is much needed. The initiative by State Senator Jen Jordan makes it illegal for high-risk sex offenders to get social media information on someone under 16 or to use social media to pretend to be under 16 to trick a child into sexual activity.”1

In June of this year, Keisha Sean Waites introduced legislation known as “Miriam’s Law” which would increase restrictions for people presently on the Georgia Sex Offender Registry. Per the Northside Neighbor website, the amendment to Title 42 of the Georgia Criminal Code would, “urge the state to create local state legislation that will properly rate and level sex offenders. The Sexual Offender Registration Board, also known as SORRB, is responsible for rating offenders and assigning an assessment to ensure the safety of the public. The board reviews the records of convicted sexual offenders and makes assessments about the likelihood that an offender will engage in another crime.”2

The Georgia House of Representatives is pushing forward HB347, which is an Act to amend Code Section 42-1-19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to petition for release from registration requirements, so as to revise certain risk assessment classifications regarding the state sexual offender registry; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Sexual Offenses in Georgia

There are numerous acts that constitute a sex crime in Georgia. In every court in Georgia, sex crimes are harshly prosecuted and almost always result with incarceration. This article will demonstrate that sex crime charges in Georgia, and how they are prosecuted, are very complex. A single comment or other bit of evidence can dramatically change the course of how a case is prosecuted.

Anyone under investigation or arrested for a sex crime should contact an experienced sex crime defense lawyer.

Felony Sex Crime Punishments in Georgia

Punishments and penalties for sex crimes in Georgia can vary in severity, but all sex crime sentencing guidelines are extremely stern.

The following list is a snapshot of possible punishments for conviction of felony sex crimes in Georgia.

  • Rape punished by death sentence, Imprisonment for life without parole, Imprisonment for life, or split-sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life
  • Statutory Rape Defendant will be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years. If defendant is 21 years of age or older, such person will be punished by imprisonment for not less than 10 or more than 20 years. Any person convicted under this subsection of the offense of statutory rape shall also be subject to sentencing and punishment provisions of 17-10-6.2. If the victim is at least 14 but less than 16 years of age and the defendant is 18 years of age or younger, and is no more than 4 years older than the victim, defendant will be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • Child Molestation punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.2 and 17-10-7. Upon a defendant being incarcerated on a conviction for a first offense, the Department of Corrections shall provide counseling to such defendant. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, upon a second or subsequent conviction of an offense of child molestation, the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten years nor more than 30 years or by imprisonment for life and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.2 and 17-10-7
  • Aggravated Child Molestation punished by imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life, and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.
  • Sexual Assault, (improper sexual contact),
    First Degree Felony punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 25 years and by a fine not to exceed $100,000. If the victim is under the age of 16 years, defendant will be punished by imprisonment for not less than 10 nor more than 30 years, and shall also be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of § 17-10-6.2. If the victim is at least 14 but less than 21 years of age and defendant is 21 years of age or younger, and is no more than 48 months older than the victim, defendant will be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall not be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of § 17-10-6.2. If the victim of the offense is under the age of 16 and the act physically injures the victim or involves an act of sodomy, the offense shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 25 nor more than 50 years and a fine not to exceed $100,000.00 and shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of §. 17-10-6.2
    Second Degree Felony Defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and shall not be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of § 17-10-6.2. If the victim is under the age of 16 years, defendant will be punished by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 25 years and a fine of $25,000, and shall also be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of § 17-10-6.2. If the victim is at least 14 but less than 21 years of age and defendant is 21 years of age or younger, and is no more than 48 months older than the victim, defendant will be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall not be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of § 17-10-6.2.
  • Sexual Battery punished as for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. A person convicted of the offense of sexual battery against any child under the age of 16 years shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years. Upon a second or subsequent conviction under subsection (b) of this Code section, a person shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years and, in addition, shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of § 17-10-6.2.
  • Aggravated Sexual Battery punished by imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life, and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of §§ 17-10-6.1, 17-10-7.
  • Sodomy / Aggravated Sodomy
    Sodomy Performing or submitting to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.
    Aggravated Sodomy Committing sodomy with force and against the will of the other person or the other person is less than 10 years of age.
  • Incest punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 30 years; provided, however, that any person convicted of the offense of incest under this subsection with a child under the age of 14 years shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 25 nor more than 50 years. Any person convicted under this Code section of the offense of incest shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2

Additional Sentencing Provisions

Many sex crimes, as noted above, are also governed by more general sentencing provisions. Among these are:

GA Code §16-6-22.1 A person convicted of the offense of sexual battery against any child under the age of 16 years shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

GA Code §16-6-22.2 A person commits the offense of aggravated sexual battery when he or she intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person without the consent of that person.

GA Code §16-6-22.3 A person commits the offense of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years and not his or her spouse, provided that no conviction shall be had for this offense on the unsupported testimony of the victim.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of statutory rape shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years;  provided, however, that if the person so convicted is 21 years of age or older, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years. Any person convicted under this subsection of the offense of statutory rape shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2 .
(c) If the victim is at least 14 but less than 16 years of age and the person convicted of statutory rape is 18 years of age or younger and is no more than four years older than the victim, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

GA Code §17-10-6.1 …mandatory sentence for aggravated child molestation of ten years without parole.

GA Code §17-10-6.1 …precludes the trial court from exercising sentencing discretion when the victim was physically restrained during the commission of the offense, and the use of the words “during the commission of the offense

GA Code §17-10-7 … persons with at least three prior felony convictions serve the maximum time imposed in a sentence for a subsequent felony conviction.

Sexual Crimes Involving Minors

In Georgia, sex crimes involving minors are among laws with the most aggressive level of prosection. Anyone charged with sex crimes involving a minor should immediately contact a sex crimes lawyer to minimize the fallout.

Age of Consent in Georgia

The age of consent in Georgia is 16 years old. A person who is 15 years of age, or younger, is not legally able to consent to sexual activity. Sexual acts with a person under 16 years of age may be cause to be charged with statutory rape.

Per the website AgeOfConsent.net, “Georgia has eight statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state. One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the Georgia Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the Georgia equivalent of that charge. The severity of the criminal charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc) depends on the specifics of the acts committed and the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim.”3

Georgia Sex Offender Registration

In Georgia, any person convicted of a sex crime are often required to formally register as a sex offender. Convictions of the most egregious sex crimes charges are always required to register as a sex offender. Examples of crimes that carry mandatory requirement for registration include, rape, child molestation, child pornography, sex trafficking, incest, and sodomy.

Examples of sex crimes in Georgia that carry mandatory requirement for registration include:

There are many other sex offense not listed here that can be found at the Justia Website .

Anyone who is convicted of a misdemeanor sexual offense, or charged in the juvenile justice system, usually are not required to register as a sex offender. Regarding people who must register as a sex offender, please read the following westion.

Registering as a Sex Offender

Time to Register as a Sex Offender

Within 72 hours of release from incarceration, a convicted sex offender must register in person with the sheriff of the county in which they will be living. For homeless offenders, they must register with the sheriff of the county where they expect to be living. When an offenders moves to a new address they must notify or update the sheriff of the county of their residence.

Sex Offender Registry Removal

Is it possible to be removed form the Georgia Sex Offender Registry? Yes, it is possible to have your name removed from the sex offender registry. The circumstances of a persons individual case, and other factors, ultimately determine what can be done to be removed from the Registry.

Upon release from incarceration, every person covicted of a sex crime will be assigned a designation of Level 1, 2, or 3 sex offender.

Classification of Sex Offenders?

What is a Level 1 Sex Offender

Level 1 Sex Offender status is applicable to first-time offenders who are not believed to have predatory behaviors, and do not seem to pose a danger or threat to the public.

What is a Level 2 Sex Offender?

Level 2 Sex Offender status is applicable to a convicted offender that is deemed to be a moderate threat to the public with possibility to commit another offense.

What is a Level 3 Sex Offender?

Level 3 Sex Offender status is applicable to convicted offenders with a strong possibility of committing another offense. Anyone with this classification will almost certainly be required to wear a monitoring device.

Georgia Sex Offender Living Restrictions

With consideration towards public safety, the State of Georgia enacted laws that restrict the post-incarceration life of offenders.

The early laws were substantially changed after a 2015 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the law that prohibits sex offenders from prohibited them from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of effectively any location children gather was unconstitutional. A significant argument for making the change came from several civil rights groups. In January 2015, the FoxNews website published an article that stated, “The law had been targeted by civil rights groups who argued it would render vast residential areas off-limits to Georgia’s roughly 11,000 registered sex offenders and could backfire by encouraging offenders to stop reporting their whereabouts to authorities.”4.


From representation for persons under investigation and charged, to post-conviction legal services our defense lawyers have the experience you need to affect the best possible outcome. For more information, please contact our criminal defense experts at 678-880-9360.

FOOTNOTES

  • 1 Camille Syed, “Gov. Kemp signs new law to prosecute child sex offenders to the fullest extent”, April 27, 2022, Available from WTOC-11 News
  • 2 Elizabeth Nouryeh-Clay, “Proposed law could strengthen legislation on sex offenders”, June 23, 2022, Available from Northside Neighbor
  • 3 Staff Writers, “Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in Georgia”, January 5, 2022, Available from AgeOfConsent.net
  • 4Associated Press, “Georgia Court Overturns Ban Limiting Where Sex Offenders Can Live”, January 13, 2015, Available from FoxNews

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