Georgia Sexual Battery Laws

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Under Georgia’s laws, a person who engages in sexual behavior with others against their will can be convicted of rape, sodomy, or sexual battery.

For more information on sexual assault laws generally, see Sexual Battery: Laws and Penalties.

Depending on the circumstances, some behavior can constitute a sex crime or assault and battery (causing or attempting to cause physical injury to another).

For more information on these crimes in Georgia, see Georgia Assault and Battery Laws and Georgia Aggravated Assault & Battery Laws.

Rape in Georgia

In Georgia, a man commits the crime of rape having sexual intercourse with a woman by force and against the woman’s will. A man also commits the crime of rape by having sex with a girl under the age of ten.

(Ga. Code Ann. § 16-6-1.)

Even slight penetration can constitute intercourse, and threats, intimidation, and physical harm can constitute force.

A man also commits rape by engaging in sex with a woman who is:

  • asleep or unconscious
  • intoxicated, or
  • otherwise unable to consent.

Georgia law treats spousal rape identical to other kinds of rape.

For more information on marital rape in Georgia, see Georgia Marital Rape Laws.

Sodomy and Aggravated Sexual Battery in Georgia

Under Georgia’s laws, a person commits the crime of sodomy by having oral or anal sex with another. A person commits the crime of aggravated sodomy by having oral or anal sex with another person by force and without the other person’s consent.

(Ga. Code Ann. § 16-6-2.)

A person commits the crime of aggravated sexual battery by penetrating a person’s genitals or anus with a foreign object (anything other than a penis) without the person’s consent.

(Ga. Code Ann. § 16-6-2.22.)

For example, placing a finger in a woman’s vagina against her will is aggravated sexual battery.

Sexual Battery in Georgia

A person in Georgia commits the crime of sexual battery by making physical contact with the intimate part (genitals, buttocks, or a woman’s breasts) of another person’s body without the consent of the other person.

Sexual battery is punished more severely if the victim is under 16 years old or if the defendant has previously been convicted of sexual battery.

(Ga. Code Ann. § 16-6-22.1.)

For example, fondling a woman’s breast without her consent is sexual battery.

Prior Consensual Sexual Activity

It is not a defense to a charge of rape or sexual assault that the victim and defendant previously engaged in consensual sexual conduct. However, a victim’s prior sexual activity with the defendant may be admissible at trial when the defendant raises the defense of consent.

Punishment

Rape is punishable by 25 years to life imprisonment or life without parole.

Although Georgia’s rape sentencing law also authorizes the death penalty, the United States Supreme Court has struck down the death penalty for rapists. (Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008).)

Sodomy is punishable by one to 20 years’ imprisonment. Aggravated sodomy is punishable by 25 years to life imprisonment.

Aggravated sexual battery is punishable by 25 years to life imprisonment.

If released from prison, a person convicted of rape or aggravated sodomy must remain on probation for his or her entire life.

Sexual battery is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. A second or subsequent conviction for sexual battery or a conviction for sexual battery against a child under the age of 16 is punishable by one to five years’ imprisonment.

(Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-6-1, 16-6-2, 16-6-22.1, 16-6-2.22.)

Sex Offender Registration

People in Georgia who are convicted of rape, sodomy, or aggravated sexual battery are required to register as sex offenders, as are people are convicted a second or subsequent time of sexual battery.

(Ga. Code Ann. § 42-1-12.)

Obtaining Legal Assistance

A conviction for rape, sodomy, or sexual battery can have very serious consequences. If you are charged with a sex crime, you should contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney. An attorney can tell you what to expect in court and help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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