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Avoiding a Felony: Has Your Teen Found Their Romeo or Juliet?

No Criminal Record. No Jail Time.
Romeo and Juliet

When we think about a love story, many of us first think of the story of Romeo and Juliet. This Shakespearean tale is one that has stuck with many for decades. In this story, love is the focus and it supersedes all other values the couple has, including loyalties and emotion. This love was so strong that it was held together through everything else. All the signs pointing towards them not being together wasn’t enough to keep these lovers from making it work.

Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer!

Whether it’s the person they’re with, the age difference or even ethnicity, people across the globe are finding themselves in relationships that are “just wrong.” You’ve heard it many times, “love has no boundaries.” In some cases, yes, but what happens when the reason your relationship is “wrong” is that you’re dating and having intercourse with someone who is underage? What if both parties are underage?

Contact The Abt Law Firm, LLC for your free consultation.

Rape In Atlanta

Rape under Georgia law is broken down into two categories: rape and statutory rape.

  • Rape: Defined as a man having “carnal knowledge” of a “female forcibly and against her will.” This can better be described as “penetration of the female organ by the male sex organ.”
  • Statutory Rape: Defined as anyone who has sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 which typically results in a felony. Something important to note about statutory rape is that consent isn’t a viable defense. Why? Because by the eyes of Georgia law, a person under the age of 16 isn’t at an age to legally consent to sexual intercourse.

This means that the Romeo and Juliet laws may be the only thing able to save you from being charged with a Statutory rape felony in the state of Georgia.

What Are Romeo and Juliet Laws?

Under Georgia statutory rape laws, young lovers can still be prosecuted. Under "Romeo and Juliet" laws if the defendant is 18 years old and the victim is between 14 to 16 years old, the accused will likely face misdemeanor charges.

While defendants charged with statutory rape have the typical defenses that are available to all defendants, such as “I wasn’t the person who committed this crime,” or “This conduct never took place.” They also, under Georgia law, have other defenses available. The most important defense relating to statutory rape is the “Romeo and Juliet” law.

Romeo and Juliet Law in Georgia

These exceptions were put into place to prevent serious criminal charges against teens who engage in consensual sex with individuals close in age. Georgia law recognizes that young lovers exist and that they shouldn’t be punished to the fullest extent of the law for doing so.

Romeo and Juliet exemption: A Romeo and Juliet exemption can be applied for consensual sexual intercourse between a victim between the age of 14-16 and an individual who is 18 or younger and no more than four years older than the victim.

How a Qualified Atlanta Defense Attorney Can Help

While these exemptions exist, they are not always guaranteed. This is where hiring a qualified Atlanta criminal defense attorney can assist in seeking the best possible outcome for your teen.

The ABT Law Firm has countless years of experience dealing with and winning cases similar to these. We know how love works and feel that everyone deserves the right to the best legal representation available.

If your teen has been charged with statutory rape, contact us at (678) 582-2272 today to schedule your free case evaluation.