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Georgia Rape and Statutory Rape Laws

Definition of Rape

Under Georgia law, rape is defined as a man having “carnal knowledge” of “a female forcibly and against her will.” In this instance, carnal knowledge is very specifically defined as “penetration of the female sex organ (vagina) by the male sex organ (penis).” Rape can occur even between spouses, so the defendant cannot use the fact that he is married to the person accusing him of rape as a defense.

Sexual offenses involving two men, or two women, that may otherwise be considered rape are charged as aggravated sodomy or sexual battery in Georgia.

Definition of Statutory Rape

In Georgia, anyone who has sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 can face charges for statutory rape. Consent is not a defense. Why? Because in the eyes of the law, a person under 16 can't legally consent to sex. This means that sex with them, by definition, violates the law.

This law is often widely misunderstood. When you think of the word “rape,” a forcible sexual encounter comes to mind. However, under the statutory rape provision, no force is required to be in violation of the law.

Also, keep in mind that even though the law requires sexual intercourse, any sexual activity with or without force or against another person's will, can still be prosecuted as a sexual assault or sexual battery.

Romeo and Juliet Laws

Yes, even star-crossed young lovers can be prosecuted under Georgia's statutory rape law. Commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet" laws, if the victim is between 14-16 years old and the defendant is 18 years years old or no more than four years older than the victim, he or she will only face misdemeanor charges.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Georgia rape and statutory rape laws. See also Rape, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Battery .

Code Sections

Rape: O.C.G.A. 16-6-1

Statutory Rape: O.C.G.A. 16-6-3

Elements of Rape

Rape: Any man who forcibly uses his penis to penetrate a female's vagina against her will. This law only applies to females. A husband can rape his wife in Georgia.

Elements of Statutory Rape

Statutory Rape : Sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years who is not your spouse.

Romeo and Juliet Provision: If the victim is 14-16 years old and the defendant is either 18 years old or no more than four years older than the victim, he or she will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Penalty for Rape Death penalty , life in prison without parole, or minimum of 25 years in prison followed by lifetime probation.
Penalty for Statutory Rape

Statutory Rape: Felony if under 21 years old, 1-20 yrs in prison. If over 21 years old, 10-20 yrs in prison and mandatory sex offender registration.

Romeo and Juliet Penalty: Misdemeanor u p to 1 yr. in jail, probation, fines, possible community service, and a possible "stay away" order.

Mandatory Sex Registration

Yes, anyone convicted of rape or anyone over 21 years old convicted of statutory rape must register as a sex offender with the state of Georgia for life.

Publication of Female's Identity

Prohibited by law. Georgia law prohibits the media and members of the public from publishing the identity of any female survivor of rape or attempted rape.


If you or someone you know has been raped, contact any of the following resources:

Get Professional Legal Help With Your Rape Case

Rape is a violent criminal action which carries huge penalties and repercussions if found guilty -- that is why legal representation for such a criminal charge is absolutely crucial. Sometimes the verdict comes down to whether affirmative consent was provided by the alleged victim. If you find yourself facing a rape or statutory rape charge, talk to a Georgia criminal defense lawyer today.

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