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Young Love — Why 14-Year-Olds Can Be Charged with Child Molestation

In Georgia, a person as young as 14 years old can be charged with child molestation. This can prove to be difficult for young teenagers who claim they’re in love one minute and then have a fallout the next.

If you are a parent of a teenager facing child molestation charges, you need an experienced team of attorneys by your side. At The Abt Law Firm, LLC we can help defend your case.

Georgia Law

The law in Georgia states that a child molestation charge can be filed against someone who:

  • commits an immoral or indecent act in the presence of or with a child who is under the age of 16, with the intent to arouse or please themselves or the child;
  • uses an electronic device to transfer images of a person participating in an immoral or indecent act to a child under the age of 16 with the intent to arouse or please themselves, another person, or the child.

Someone could also be charged with aggravated child molestation — this is when the act of child molestation also involves injuries or an act of sodomy against a child under the age of 16.

In Georgia, child molestation is usually defined as a felony punishable from five to 20 years in prison, while an aggravated child molestation charge is a minimum of 25 years in prison with probation for the rest of the offender’s life. However, if the victim is 14, 15, or 16 years old and the person convicted is no more than four years older than the victim, then the child molestation charge will usually be classified as a misdemeanor.

Additionally, someone convicted of child molestation will also be registered as a sex offender. There are three levels for registered sex offenders and the judge’s decision will determine what a convicted offender will be categorized as:

  • Level 1: lowest category level and deemed the least violent. Most people categorized as a level 1 sex offender must register for at least 15 years.
  • Level 2: usually still considered non-violent but most cases with this conviction involve minors. Most people categorized as a level 2 sex offender must register for at least 25 years.
  • Level 3: considered the most dangerous and most serious offenders. These are people who have been convicted of crimes, whether violent or not, that can involve both minors and adults. Those convicted as a level 3 offender must stay on the Sexual Offender registry for life.

Age of Consent

For young people in love, the age of consent comes into play regarding potential charges. In Georgia, the age of consent is 16 years old. This means that a child under the age of 15 cannot give consent to sexual actions and anyone who commits an act sexually in nature with someone of that age could face serious criminal charges.

Statute of Limitations

After a crime is committed, there is a certain amount of time in which the accused can file charges. This could be difficult for young people who are in love because while they may be open to sexual advances at the time, whether a breakup happens or someone changes their mind, it is still legally wrong for a child under the age of 16 to engage in sexual actions.

In Georgia, most sexually based offenses have a seven-year statute of limitations. The time for someone to report the crime begins right after the crime happens. However, for children who may not be able to communicate what happened to them, the “clock” starts when it is discovered that the crime occurred. This includes if the victim was a young child at the time and didn’t understand what occurred was wrong until they were older later in life.

Charges involving a minor are a serious matter and you or your loved ones need an experienced team to represent you. The lawyers at The Abt Law Firm, LLC are ready to help you during your time of need — reach out today for a free consultation. (678) 582-2272.

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