Georgia has very different laws on sexual assault, now officially known as improper sexual contact, than other states. Under Georgia law, sexual assault is defined as improper sexual contact by an individual with disciplinary or supervisory authority over another individual.
Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Georgia
The statute of limitations or window of time that victims of sexual assault can sue the individual who harmed them includes:
- The prosecution must be initiated within four years following the sexual assault incident.
- If the sexual assault was committed against an individual below 18 years old, the prosecution must be started within seven years following the sexual assault incident.
- If the sexual assault victim was younger than 16 but at least 14 years old, and the offender was 18 years old or below and not more than four years older than the sexual assault victim, the prosecution must be initiated within two years following the offense.
What Exactly is Sexual Assault Under Georgia Law?
Improper sexual contact or sexual assault in the first degree happens when an agent or employee engages in sexually explicit behavior with another individual that they know or should’ve reasonably known is:
- Under parole, probation, pretrial diversion, or accountability court supervision of the court or office of which the offender is an agent or employee
- A student of the school where the agent or employee works at
- A patient at or in a hospital where the agent or employee works at
- Is in the custody of or being detained by a law enforcement office where the agent or employee works for
- A subject or patient of the agent or employee’s counseling or psychotherapy treatment
- A sensitive care facility patient where the agent or employee works at
- In the custody of a juvenile detention facility, correctional facility, facility providing youth service and childcare services, or facility providing services to persons with disabilities where the agent or employee works for
The victim’s consent cannot be used as a defense. Also, this law doesn’t apply to students who are enrolled in the same school as the sexual assault victim and sexual contact or sexually explicit conduct between lawfully married individuals.
It is also crucial to note that the law also refers to offenders as agents because agents could be used to refer to individuals who are not technically employees but individuals who might be volunteers or helping in some capacity. Also, note that sexually explicit behavior or conduct requires actual sexual activity to some degree and is not the same as sexual contact.
Improper sexual contact or sexual assault in the second degree happens when the offender engages in sexual contact with an unwilling individual. Sexual contact in this context is any contact that involves another individual’s intimate body parts for sexual gratification. This means that touching someone’s breasts or buttocks could be considered sexual contact.
Seek Legal Guidance from an Experienced Georgia Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer Today
All is not lost if you have been accused and charged with sexual assault in Georgia. But you need to act fast and protect your legal rights by reaching out to Moffitt Law, LLC. You can discuss your case with our experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyer to learn more about your legal options and the best way to handle the charges against you. Schedule your free case consultation today by completing our online form or calling 762-212-3951.
Sexual Assault FAQ
What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Georgia?
The statute of limitations in Georgia for sexual assault varies from two, four, or seven years after the commission of the crime, depending on the ages of the victim and the defendant.
What Are The Penalties for Sexual Assault in Georgia?
If you get convicted of sexual assault in Georgia, you could face many years in jail and very steep fines depending on the specific circumstances of your case. You would also need to register as a sex offender.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Sexual Assault Case?
You would be well-advised to enlist the help of an attorney. The penalties for sexual assault in Georgia are harsh. An experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyer will know how to handle the charges against you and secure the best possible outcome for your sexual assault case.