Consent Laws in Georgia

Rape and sexual assault are particularly heinous crimes, and it’s important to understand how consent works in the legal sense. If a person cannot legitimately consent to sexual contact, any sexual contact performed on that person will be considered sexual assault or rape, depending on the circumstances. One often-cited gray area is statutory rape. Although many people in modern society have made cogent arguments for the sexual rights of teens and young adults, statutory rape is still a serious offense. Generally speaking, the law does not consider individuals under the age of 16 as capable of adequately making such decisions.

Every state has its own laws when it comes to defining rape, statutory rape, sexual assault, and consent. In Georgia, statutory rape is defined as any sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16. Even if the individual consents to the sexual contact, the older individual is considered guilty of statutory rape. The law considers people under the age of 16 legally incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse and are predisposed to being manipulated or otherwise coerced into sexual contact with older individuals.


Georgia has specific definitions for the different types of sexual misconduct, and it’s vital to understand them:

  • Rape. In Georgia, rape is legally defined as a male sexually penetrating a female by force. Some states disregard the sex of the offender and victim for these acts, but Georgia has separate definitions for female-on-male assaults and other acts.
  • Sexual battery. Georgia defines sexual assaults between two women, two men, or a female attacking a male as sexual battery, or aggravated sodomy.
  • Statutory rape. If one individual is over the age of 16, and the other is 16 years or younger, the older individual is guilty of statutory rape under Georgia state law.

The only exception to statutory rape laws in Georgia is what is known as a “ Romeo and Juliet law.” If the younger person is 14 to 16 years old and the older person is 18 years or younger, or no more than four years older than the younger person, the older person will only receive misdemeanor charges.


Not knowing the victim’s age is not a viable defense if you are charged with statutory rape. Even if the victim appears much older, you are required to confirm your partner’s age if there is any room for doubt. Statutory rape will almost always lead to jail time. For misdemeanor charges of incidents between teenagers, the offender will more than likely face fines and up to one year in a county jail. Offenders over the age of 21 face up to 20 years in prison, depending on the circumstances.

Anyone convicted of statutory rape in Georgia must register as a sex offender. Registered sex offenders may return to normal society but face several restrictions and reporting requirements. They will often be forbidden from having certain jobs or going to certain areas or businesses. Registered sex offenders must also check-in with law enforcement and provide personal information on a regular basis.

In rare circumstances, marriage may be a defense to a statutory rape charge. Some individuals under the age of 18 may be permitted to marry with their parents’ permission. Regardless of your circumstances, if you are charged with statutory rape, you need to secure a reliable sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible. Statutory rape charges can have severe consequences and result in a permanently tarnished public image. No matter what your situation may be, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.