What Are Sex Crimes?
Sex crimes are a category of criminal offenses that involve violent, non-consensual, or otherwise illegal sexual conduct. These crimes are morally reprehensible and attract severe penalties under Georgia state law and across the US.
The consequences of a sex offense conviction remain with you for life, so if you’re facing such charges, it is important that you do all you can to defend yourself. Having useful information about your charge is vital. Still, you may also need the professional help of a reputable Atlanta criminal law firm if you hope to emerge from your trial unscathed.
Read on to learn more about sexual offenses in Georgia and specific ways a Georgia sex crimes attorney can help your case.
Types of Sex Crimes in Georgia
Sex crimes under the Georgia Code may be classified into several categories, including the following:
Violent Sex Crimes
Offenses in this category are characterized by a lack of consent and the use or threat of violence in their commission. These crimes often involve extreme cruelty, leaving the victims with serious physical and emotional injuries. Hence they are prosecuted aggressively and punished severely upon conviction.
Some of the common violent sexual crimes include aggravated sexual battery, some instances of rape, and aggravated sodomy. The punishment for such crimes includes life imprisonment or a split term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years. Rape crimes also attract the death penalty in addition to the others mentioned earlier.
If you are facing such charges, consider contacting a reputable Atlanta violent crimes attorney to help with your defense. They might be able to turn things around for you against all odds.
Sex Crimes Involving Children
Sex crimes involving children are in a class of their own. Children are recognized as vulnerable and incapable of consenting to any sexual act. So for this class of sex crimes, the consent of the victim is irrelevant and cannot be used as a defense.
Some sex crimes against children, as provided by the Georgia Code, include the following:
(Aggravated) child molestation
Enticing a child for indecent purposes.
The punishment for the different sex crimes against children varies but generally involves imprisonment for at least ten years. But the sentence could be mitigated if the child victim is between 14 and 16 years old and the defendant is 18 or younger or is no more than four years older than the victim.
If you’re facing charges for child molestation or other sex offenses against children, consider getting a skilled child molestation defense attorney to represent you. With their knowledge of how child sex crimes work, they may be able to get your charges dismissed or minimize your liability depending on the circumstances.
Commercial Sex Crimes
Commercial sex crimes involve engaging in or facilitating sexual performance in exchange for money or other items of value. Some offenses under this head include prostitution, pimping, keeping a place of prostitution, and masturbation for hire.
A first-time commercial sex crime is usually charged and punished as a misdemeanor. But subsequent convictions are punished as felonies and attract a term of imprisonment for up to ten or thirty years, depending on whether a minor was affected by the crime.
In addition to these penalties, a commercial sex crime convict may also be made to forfeit the proceeds of the crime.
Sex Crimes Committed in Public
Crimes in this category are illegal only because they are committed in public spaces and offend the sensibilities of others. The primary offense that falls within this category under the Georgia Code is the offense of public indecency.
Public indecency involves performing any of the following sexual acts in public:
Indecent exposure of the sexual organs
Appearing completely or partially nude
Indecent caressing or fondling of another’s body.
First and second public indecency offenses are charged as misdemeanors. A third or subsequent offense is charged and punished as a felony; the punishment here includes imprisonment for up to five years.
Internet Sex Crimes
Internet sex crimes are those facilitated by the Internet or committed electronically. Examples of internet sex crimes, as provided by the Georgia Code, include:
Sharing nude or sexually explicit photos or videos of another without their consent
Distribution of pornographic material involving children via electronic means (also known as child pornography)
Obscene internet contact with a child.
The punishment for such offenses in this class varies but generally includes imprisonment for several years, depending on the nature of the offense.
Improper Sexual Conduct in Relationships of Trust
The Georgia Code prohibits sexual contact or conduct between the following categories of persons:
An employee or agent of a school, hospital, law enforcement agency, or correctional facility and a student patient or resident of such establishments
Foster parents and foster children
A person entrusted with the responsibility of educating and supervising a minor (by the minor’s parent or guardian) and the minor.
The victim’s consent cannot be used as a defense here. The punishment for offenses in this category varies but generally includes imprisonment for at least a year. But if the victim is between 14 and 21 years old and the offender is not more than 48 months older, the crime is charged and punished as a misdemeanor.
Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction
In addition to the penalties mentioned in the previous sections, convicted sex offenders must register in the Georgia Sexual Offender Registry within 72 hours after their release from prison or placement on parole or probation. Sex offender registration in Georgia is for life unless a court orders otherwise.
The sex offender registry is public and can be accessed by anyone. This means that you’ll have to live with the stigma of being a sex offender for the rest of your life if convicted. The only way to avoid the sex registry is to avoid a sex offender conviction in the first place. If you’re already facing such charges, you can rely on skilled criminal defense lawyers to defend you.
How an Atlanta Sex Crimes Attorney Can Help You
There are many ways an experienced sex crime attorney can help you if you’re facing charges for a sexual offense. They include:
Investigating the allegations against you and gathering evidence to support your defense
Negotiating with prosecutors to get reduced charges or sentences
Filing relevant motions or petitions in court to challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution
Representing you during your trial
Assisting you in filing an appeal if you are convicted.
The most important thing to remember is that a sex crime conviction can have serious consequences, including a lengthy period of incarceration and lifetime registration as a sex offender. To avoid these consequences, getting experienced legal representation for your case is vital.
Get Help With Your Sexual Abuse Charges From Reputable Criminal Defense Lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia
If you or a loved one is facing sex crime charges in Atlanta, Georgia, you’ll undoubtedly have many questions. At Farnsworth & Murphy LLC, we understand the confusion and anxiety that comes from being charged with sex crimes. Our experienced and compassionate criminal defense attorneys can answer your questions and help you understand the situation from a legal perspective.
We offer our clients top-notch legal representation and all-around support throughout their cases. You can trust us to do the same for you. Contact us immediately to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you as you prepare your defense.