All states have laws criminalizing forced or coercive sexual conduct. These laws prohibit rape, sexual battery, molestation, and a variety of other nonconsensual sex acts.
Generally speaking, states also have laws that prohibit certain kinds of consensual sexual activity between adults. Often, prohibited consensual sexual activity laws are rooted in social norms and customs that change with the times. For example, Georgia's ban on consensual sodomy was overturned by the state's Supreme Court in 1998 as an unconstitutional breach of privacy.
At the same time, however, the state's sodomy law remains “on the books," although it's unenforceable. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Lawrence v. Texas. In that case, the Supreme Court found that all anti-sodomy laws, as they pertain to consenting adults, are unconstitutional. In the wake of that decision, all anti-sodomy laws became unenforceable.
This article summarizes Georgia's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws. For related content, see FindLaw's Sex Crimes section and the links at the end of this article.
Under 16-6-2, it remains a crime to engage in an act of sodomy when the act is done by force, with someone under the age of consent, with someone that cannot consent, with a child, with someone that is incapacitated, or with someone that is mentally handicapped.
Penalty for Sodomy
|Under 16-6-2, offenders face between one and 20 years in prison for an act of sodomy not involving consenting adults. Offenders are subject to the sentencing and punishment guidelines of 17-10-6.2.
HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders
Under 16-5-60, it is a crime for a person that knows they are infected with the HIV virus to recklessly engage in sexual activity with another person and as a result of that sexual activity expose that person to the virus. Offenses are treated as a felony. Offenders face between five and ten years in prison.
Under 31-22-9.1, a person convicted of a sexual offense must submit to HIV testing upon the victim's request and a court order.
Public Indecency & Other Related Offenses
- Under 16-6-8, public indecency is a crime. It is treated as a misdemeanor.
- Under 16-11-39, disorderly conduct is a crime. It is treated as a misdemeanor. Disorderly conduct can involve lewd or obscene behaviors in public places that cause a disturbance to those occupying those places.
|Prostitution & Other Related Offenses
- Under 16-6-9, prostitution is a crime. It is treated as a misdemeanor.
- Under 16-6-10, owning or maintaining a place of prostitution is a crime. It is treated as a misdemeanor.
- Under 16-6-11, "pimping" is a crime. It is treated as a misdemeanor.
- Under 16-6-15, soliciting a prostitute for sodomy is a crime. It is treated as a misdemeanor. However, if the person that is solicited is under the age of 18, the offense is treated as a felony.
- Under 16-6-16, it is a crime to hire a prostitute for purposes of masturbation. Offenses are treated as a misdemeanor.
- Under 16-6-17, it is a crime to giving massages in a place that is used for lewdness. Places used for lewdness can include houses of prostitution.
|Age of Consent
||Under most circumstances, the age of consent is 16 in Georgia.The offense of engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent is referred to as statutory rape in most states.For more information about statutory rape, consider reviewing FindLaw's page on the subject.
Note: From newly passed legislation to decisions by higher courts, state laws are always subject to change. Consider speaking with a qualified criminal defense attorney near you or conducting your own research to verify the laws of your state.
Research the Law
Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about all laws in Georgia, including those related to sexual activity:
- At Georgia Law, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those related to sexual activity.
- At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Georgia Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources
Consider reviewing the following resources, as well, for more information about laws and legal issues related to sexual activity:
Charged with a Sex Crime in Georgia? Let an Attorney Help You
State laws are constantly changing and may no longer be enforceable even if they are still in the Georgia code. If you have questions about Georgia's prohibited consensual activity laws or you have been accused of a sex crime, you should consider contacting an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney today.