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Johnson Citronberg defends your freedom

Georgia Rape and Sexual Assault Lawyer

Top Sex Crimes Attorneys in Georgia

Defending Rape Allegations


Rape allegations should always be taken seriously. Most of the rape allegations that we see come from people who had consensual sex with our clients. 

Contact Johnson / Citronberg | 703-684-8000

We’ve seen alleged victims make false allegations because of vindictiveness, trying to cover up other lies or affairs, or trying to extort money from our clients. In other cases, drugs or alcohol may have impaired their memory and judgment. Whatever the cause, the allegations need the attention of an experienced Georgia sex crimes lawyer. 

We are one of the few law firms in Georgia that specialize in rape allegations and sex offense cases. We understand exactly what evidence is needed to fight back against false allegations and to prove that any sex was consensual. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your case.

Georgia Rape Law Overview

Rape is defined as penetration against the victim’s will by force, threat, or intimidation. 

Under Georgia law, a person is innocent of rape if he reasonably believed that the accuser consented to the sexual intercourse. 

It is the defense lawyer’s job to gather every piece of evidence to prove that the accuser consented to sex. Typically, this will include social media messages, text messages, photographs, videos, emails, surveillance footage, receipts, and interviews from witnesses who saw or talked to you and the accuser before and after the alleged sexual encounter. For this reason, we will normally request access to our client’s phones, computers, and email accounts. In some cases, we may need the help of a computer forensic expert to assist in the recovery of these communications.

Georgia Rape Shield Statute

Georgia law allows the defense to introduce evidence of the alleged victim’s prior sexual history in some instances. 

Rape shield laws generally prevent the defense from introducing evidence of an alleged victim’s prior sexual history into evidence. But there are exceptions. Under Georgia Code § 24-4-412, the defense can introduce evidence of prior sexual conduct if the following conditions are met:

  • The evidence shows an alternative explanation for physical evidence (e.g., semen, pregnancy, disease, physical injury).
  • Evidence of sexual conduct between the accused and the alleged victim which shows that the alleged conduct was not done with force, threat, or intimidation.
  • If the prosecution introduces evidence of the alleged victim’s prior sexual conduct, the defense can offer rebuttal evidence.
  • Evidence whose exclusion would violate the defendant’s constitutional rights.

Notably, prior to trial, the court must rule on the admissibility of any evidence concerning the alleged victim’s prior sexual history. Let an experienced Georgia sex crimes lawyer determine how to show that the sexual encounter was consensual. You can call us at (703) 684-8000 or send us a confidential email online

Consent in Georgia Rape Cases

While consent is a defense to rape charges, the issue of consent can be complicated by alcohol and other intoxicants.

Under Georgia law, consent is a valid defense to a charge of rape. But a lack of consent is presumed when there is any of the following:

  • Intimidation
  • Physical force
  • Threats
  • Intoxication/Unconsciousness

The prosecution will argue that the rape was committed with one of these factors, and it is our job to attack that argument. While there are different factors that can impact a woman’s ability to consent, the most common issue that our clients face is when the woman alleges that she was impaired due to alcohol or drugs. This can occur in two different scenarios: 1) voluntary intoxication and 2) involuntary intoxication.

Intoxication and Consent

With involuntary intoxication, the woman will argue that she didn’t know she was taking a substance that could impair her physical or mental abilities (i.e., she’s been drugged). This allegation in these cases usually involves a “date rape” drug (e.g., Rohypnol, GHB, ketamine), and therefore the woman could not have given her to consent to engage in sexual intercourse.

Voluntary intoxication is the much more common scenario. With voluntary intoxication, the woman will typically admit to consuming alcohol. The prosecution will argue that the woman drank so much that she was unconscious or didn’t understand what was happening. The defense must be able to undercut this argument and show that the woman was able to consent.

We can prove consent in a few different ways. The best way to do this is usually by focusing on the woman’s actions prior to the sexual encounter. Witnesses can provide testimony concerning where she was, how she was acting, and how many drinks she had. We can also gather surveillance footage showing where she was and how she was walking and receipts to show how many drinks she ordered. Other pieces of evidence can show that the woman was able to do many normal activities such as order an Uber, text or chat with friends, and using social media accounts. It can also be extremely important to gather communications that the woman had with our client or with others about how she felt about sex with our client. 

Motives Behind False Rape Allegations

A common motive for making up rape allegations is that the woman is trying to conceal the fact that she has a husband or boyfriend. By alleging rape, she thinks that she can absolve herself of cheating on her significant other.

Our client is often unaware that his accuser was in a relationship. It is only through our investigation that we learn she was cheating and took steps to conceal the cheating. While social media can be the easiest way to confirm that she was cheating, talking to witnesses and going through phone records are another powerful way to garner this information. In many situations, the rape allegations are only made once the spouse or boyfriend discovers the infidelity.

How We Help Clients Accused of Rape in GA


A solid rape defense involves a thorough independent investigation, expert witnesses, and extensive trial preparation.

The earlier we get involved, the greater the chance there is that we will be able to gather the evidence we need to prove that the sexual encounter was consensual. A good defense will therefore begin with a thorough independent investigation into the allegations as well as the alleged victim.  

Step 1: Independent Investigation

An independent private investigator should conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations by obtaining all police reports in which the alleged victim is named. While some police reports may not concern your case, these reports can show a motivation to lie or a reason why the alleged victim may not be telling the truth (e.g., drug use, scared of violating probation, frightened that a boyfriend or husband may find out). It is also not uncommon for an alleged victim to have made allegations against other people which were inaccurate or misleading.

A private investigator will also scour social media accounts. In virtually every case, the alleged victim will have made incriminating statements on social media which either concern the case directly or which show that the victim is a person who should not be believed. A private investigator can also help your lawyer obtain text messages and phone logs which often contain revealing conversations between the alleged victims and others.

The investigation will also involve interviewing potential witnesses. While every case is different, this may include interviewing people who saw you and the alleged victim earlier in the night, former roommates or boyfriends, and people who may have had bad experiences with the alleged victim in the past. An investigator can also gather any video surveillance or other evidence which may show what actually happened. Again, the goal of an independent investigation is to determine if there is a reason for the alleged victim to lie or to not remember the events that transpired accurately.

Step 2: Expert Witnesses

Sexual Assault cases often involve the use of rape kits for the collection of DNA and medical examinations to show physical trauma consistent with the allegations. It is not uncommon for an expert in DNA, usually a crime lab analyst, and a medical professional, such as a nurse or doctor, to testify. The defense should have its own DNA expert or medical professional to attack the validity of the findings of the Government’s experts.

The defense may also benefit from using cell phone data experts. Cell phones transmit data to the phone companies. From this data, experts can help us understand where the alleged victim was and for how long. It is not uncommon for this data to tell a different story from the alleged victim’s story.

Step 3: Trial Preparation

Trial preparation begins long before your case is actually scheduled for trial. Based on the findings of the private investigator and the discovery produced by the Government, your lawyer can begin to build a defense. In rape or sexual assault cases, a good defense involves 1) attacking the credibility of the Government’s evidence and 2) explaining what actually happened.

While it may be enough for your lawyer to poke holes in the Government’s case (e.g., the alleged victim told different stories about where she was earlier in the night), it isn’t always enough to get a not-guilty verdict. Most juries want to know what actually happened, and it is human nature to want to believe the story that makes more sense. If you can’t tell the jury what happened, you run the risk of the jury simply believing the prosecution despite shoddy police work or inconsistent statements. To accomplish this, your defense team may do the following:

  • Look for inconsistent statements made by the alleged victim.
  • Compare statements made by witnesses to the alleged victim’s statements.
  • Obtain all social media postings, text messages, and emails which are either inconsistent with the alleged victim’s account or are inconsistent with someone who is a victim.
  • Gather all surveillance footage which provides for a different account.
  • Line up any witnesses who either provide a different account of what happened or who can testify about why the alleged victim should not be believed.
  • Dig into any false statements or prior false allegations that the alleged victim has previously made.
  • Research whether the alleged victim has mental health issues or a drug problem which could cause a false allegation.
  • Retain expert witnesses who can testify that the evidence is not consistent with the alleged victim’s story.

Every case is different, and every case will present a unique set of circumstances that your lawyer will need to explore and investigate. By turning over every rock and interviewing every possible witness, you can greatly increase the odds of not being convicted of a false allegation.

Rape & Sexual Assault Elements & Penalties


Rape has specific elements which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition to rape, a defendant may be charge with similar offenses such as forcible sodomy and aggravated sexual battery.

There are a few different Georgia statutes that someone can be charged with when there is a sexual assault allegation made by an adult:

Rape (Georgia Code § 16-6-1)

Legal Definition: Georgia law defines rape as the “penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ,” of a female forcibly and against her will, or a female who is less than 10 years old. Thus, a conviction for rape in Georgia requires a male defendant and a female victim. “Penetration” means that the male penis entered the female’s sex organ, no matter how slight. “Force” means the use of physical force, threats of death or physical bodily harm, or mental coercion. While the victim is not required to “fight back,” if they explicitly tell the defendant “no,” this is sufficient to prove force. If the victim was under 10 years old, force and lack of consent are presumed and no additional evidence is needed. 

Penalties: If conviced of rape, a defendant may face the death penalty, life in prison without parole, or a statutory minimum of 25 years in prison followed by lifetime probation. Sex offender registry for life is also required for those over 21 years old.

Statutory Rape (Georgia Code § 16-6-3)

Legal Definition: Georgia law defines statutory rape as having sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 16, regardless of either party’s gender.

Penalties: Statutory rape is a felony unless the offender is 18 or younger and is no more than 4 years older than a victim of at least 14, in which case it is a misdemeanor (up to 12 months in jail). There may also be a lower felony sentence for statutory rape if the offender is between 18 and 20 years old and more than 4 years older than the victim. 

Aggravated Sodomy (Georgia Law § 16-6-2)

Legal Definition: Forcible sodomy occurs when a person engages in oral or anal sex with the victim and is done so against the will of the victim by force, threat, or intimidation.

Penalties: A person convicted of forcible sodomy will face either a life sentence or a minimum 25 year sentence followed by life probation. They will also be required to register as a sex offender. 

Aggravated Sexual Battery (Georgia Code § 16-6-22.2)

Legal Definition: Georgia law defines aggravated sexual battery as intentionally penetrating the sexual organ or anus of another person with a foreign object (not a penis) without their consent. 

Penalties: A person convicted of Aggravated Sexual Battery will face a sentence of 1 to 20 years in prison.

Sexual Battery (Georgia Code § 16-6-22.1)

Legal Definition: Georgia law defines sexual battery as intentionally touching the intimate parts of another person without their consent. Sexual battery is generally prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense if the victim was at least 16 years old, or a felony offense if the victim was under 16 or if it is a repeat offense.

Penalties: Sexual battery is generally prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense if the victim was at least 16 years old (up to 12 months in prison and up to $5,000 fine), or a felony offense if the victim was under 16 or if it is a repeat offense (1-5 years in prison). The defendant may also be required to register as a sex offender.

Contact Us

We have an office in Atlanta, and we defend clients across Georgia.

If you or someone you know has been accused of rape or sexual assault in Georgia, give our Georgia sex crimes attorneys a call at 703-684-8000 for a free consultation.

Contact Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC
(703) 684-8000

Our experienced attorneys have the ability and resources to handle even the most complex criminal defense matters.