Child Molestation Charges in Georgia

Child Molestation Charges in Georgia

In Georgia, child molestation and aggravated child molestation are serious offenses. Below, we will discuss the legal definition of these charges, the potential penalties for such offenses, and defense strategies.  

Child Molestation | O.C.G.A § 16-6-4(a) 

Under Georgia law, child molestation occurs when a person:  

  • Sends images of a person engaging in, encouraging, or participating in an indecent or immoral act with a minor under age 16 with the intent to arouse or satisfy their sexual desires or that of the minor.  

  • Commits an indecent or immoral act to or in the presence of a minor under age 16 with the intent to arouse or satisfy their sexual desires or the minor’s desires.  

It is important to note that the law does not define immoral or indecent acts. However, the court defines these acts as any morally improper offensive acts that offend what society deems decent. 

A first-time offender can face five to 20 years in prison. Subsequent offenses carry the penalty of 10 to 30 years of imprisonment. However, in cases where the alleged victim is between the ages of 14 and 16 and the accused is no more than four years older than the alleged victim, the accused will be charged with a misdemeanor.  

Defenses to Child Molestation in GA  

Here are some potential defense strategies that could be used against child molestation charges. Please note these are only hypothetical scenarios and should not replace case-specific legal advice from a qualified attorney: 

  • Innocence. This is the most straightforward defense. If the accused is innocent, evidence such as alibis, lack of DNA or other physical evidence, or inconsistent statements from the accuser can be used to prove innocence. Unfortunately, false accusations occur. If it can be proven that the accusation is false, potentially through inconsistencies in the accuser's story or evidence that shows they have a motive for lying, this could serve as a defense. 

  • Mistaken identity. Sometimes, the real perpetrator might not be correctly identified, leading to wrongful accusations. In such cases, presenting evidence that proves the accused was not at the scene or involved in the incident can be used as a defense.  

  • Insufficient evidence. For a conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. If the defense can show that there is insufficient evidence to meet this standard, the charges may be dismissed. 

  • Violation of rights. If the accused's rights were violated during the investigation or trial, such as improper police procedures or not being read their Miranda rights, this could impact the case. 

Aggravated Child Molestation Charge | O.C.G.A § 16-6-4(c) 

Aggravated child molestation occurs when a person commits child molestation and, while in the commission of the offense, causes the physical injury of the minor or involves an act of sodomy. A conviction can lead to life imprisonment or 25 years of imprisonment and lifetime probation.  

Defenses to Aggravated Child Molestation in GA  

You can use some of the similar defense strategies used against child molestation charges. However, it is important to note that the following are not allowed defenses against aggravated child molestation charges:  

  • Consent is not a permissible defense in cases of child molestation or aggravated child molestation in Georgia, as minors cannot legally give consent. 

  • The severity of the injury cannot be used as a defense in cases of aggravated child molestation; thus, you cannot argue that an injury, no matter how seemingly slight, does not warrant the charge being considered aggravated child molestation.  

  • You cannot argue a lack of intent to commit such an act, as intent can be inferred from direct or circumstantial evidence that the accused intended to arouse or satisfy their sexual desires.  

  • A lack of penetration is not a permissible defense, as molestation does not require penetration or skin-to-skin contact. Contact or penetration can be charged as separate offenses (see O.C.G.A. Section 16-6-4(a.1)).  

  • A lack of force is not a permissible defense against aggravated child molestation, as the prosecution only needs to prove that the child suffered physical injuries or that the alleged act involved an act of sodomy.  

Contact Our Firm  

At Balbo & Gregg, Attorneys at Law, PC, we provide sound legal counsel to civilians and service members. If you are facing sex crime charges, including child molestation charges, our firm can help you build your defense.  

We understand that cases can be born out of embellished or falsified information and how damaging such allegations can be to a person’s personal and professional life. When you retain our services, we can help you navigate every step of the legal process.  

Learn more about how our sex crimes defense attorneys can help you. Call (866) 580-3089.