The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning passengers to be wary of sexual assaults on flights. They have noticed an “alarming” increase in sexual assault claims on flights in the U.S. – an increase of 66% from 2014 to 2017. The FBI’s public warning may set people on edge for possible assault on flights, likely leading to an increase in the number of fellow passengers accused of this crime. Here’s what to know before you fly.
The Definition of Sexual Assault in Georgia
Georgia Code Title 16, Chapter 6 outlines all the state’s sexual offense laws. Section 16-6-5.1 describes the sexual assault law by persons with “supervisory or disciplinary authority.” Georgia is unique in that it does not have a sexual assault statute regarding persons who are not of supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim. However, laws pertaining to sexual battery, rape, and other sexual offenses do exist. According to Georgia law, “sexual assault” can mean:
- A teacher, principal, administrator, probation/parole officer, law enforcement official, hospital employee, juvenile facility employee, or psychotherapist touching a subordinate in a sexual or intimate way.
- Intentionally making physical contact with someone else’s “intimate parts of the body” without that person’s consent. Intimate body parts include the groin, inner thighs, primary genital area, or buttocks, as well as the breasts of a female.
- Intentionally penetrating the sexual organ or anus of another person with a foreign object without that person’s consent. (Aggravated sexual battery). Penalties are worse if the victim is under the age of 16.
If the courts find you guilty of sexual assault in Georgia. You could face one to 25 years in prison and/or fines of up to $100,000. The sentence increases to 25-50 years in prison if the victim is under the age of 16, as well as entering the Sex Offender Registry. Sexual assault is a misdemeanor if the defendant is 18 (or within four years of the victim’s age) and the victim is 14-16 years old.
What to Do If Someone Has Accused You of In-Flight Sexual Assault
Finding yourself in the defendant’s chair in an in-flight sexual assault criminal case is a very real risk. More people are on the lookout for any action or behavior that could constitute sexual assault or related crimes on flights – especially on redeye or overnight trips. No matter what the circumstances were leading up to the accusation and your arrest, you can take steps to protect your rights and minimize the impact the case might have on your life. Follow these steps, then call an experienced criminal defense attorney:
- Stay silent. The U.S. Constitution gives you the right to remain silent. No law obligates you to speak to police officers or to answer questions during an interrogation. Remain silent other than to request an attorney. The police can use anything you say as evidence against you during your trial.
- Don’t resist arrest. Whether you’re innocent or not, do not resist arrest. Comply with everything law enforcement asks of you, other than to answer their questions. Running away from the police will only hurt your case.
- Remain calm. An arrest for in-flight sexual assault is a terrifying experience. Do what you can, however, to remain calm and collected. Know that an attorney can go a long way toward protecting you from the most severe penalties, and staying calm is the best way to exercise your rights.
Contacting an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney is the best way to protect yourself when facing accusations of sexual assault. Your lawyer will work with you closely to create a strong defense strategy that will aim to minimize the penalties against you. Reach out to an attorney as soon as possible if facing sexual assault charges of any kind.