Battery is intentionally touching or striking a person in a harmful, violent, or offensive manner, without their consent. Sexual battery is a similar offense of a sexual nature. Sexual battery is intentional physical contact with an intimate body part of another person, without that person’s consent, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. The element of force is not mandatory for an offence to be considered sexual battery. As long as the sexual physical contact was unwanted and non-consensual, it is sexual battery.
Penalties That an Offender May Face for Sexual Battery in Atlanta, Georgia
Sexual battery is considered misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature in Atlanta, Georgia. A person found guilty of committing sexual battery can face imprisonment for a minimum of one year and not more than five years. Further, sexual battery against any child under 16 years of age is considered a felony, and the term of imprisonment is still one to five years, though there will be further and harsher penalties for this felony crime as well. Anyone convicted of sexual battery in Georgia is likely to face jail time and fines, and may also be listed on a registry of sex offenders that is available to the public. Beyond this, the victim can pursue a personal injury claim against the offender for compensation for the damages sustained. This may include medical treatment, therapy expenses, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
The Different Forms of Sexual Offenses in Atlanta, Georgia
There are many different sexual offenses that someone can be convicted of, including rape, sexual assault, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery. The key elements of these crimes are that they involve sexual contact, that the contact is not consensual, and/or that the person was not in a condition to provide consent. This could mean that the person was unconscious at the time of the offense, that the person had a mental or physical handicap that prevented them from being able to give consent, or that the person was a child and not at an age where they could give legal consent, including such cases where a teenager may have given consent, but was not old enough to legally do so. Sexual assault can also include sexual contact from a person who has some kind of authority over the victim. For example, if a teacher is involved in any kind of sexual activity with a student, then it is considered sexual assault.
When Sexual Assault is Classified as Aggravated Sexual Battery
Aggravated sexual battery occurs when a person intentionally uses a foreign object to penetrate the victim in a sexual manner without their consent. A person found guilty of the crime of aggravated sexual battery in Atlanta, Georgia can face life imprisonment or a split sentence, which involves imprisonment for not less than 25 years, followed by probation for life.
The Importance of Consent in Sexual Assault Claims
While all these offences are separately punishable by law, the common element is consent or the lack thereof. Refusing consent goes beyond telling the person no and asking them to stop. In many cases, the victim is not in any condition to give consent. If a sexual offence is committed against a child, the child might not even know the meaning of consent and might be too scared or confused to say anything. Sexual violence against children often goes unreported since the children are often unaware that they have been victimized or do not have the vocabulary to express what has happened to them. In other cases, they may be threatened against speaking out, and may be afraid of retaliation from their attacker. Similarly, if a sexual offence is committed against a mentally disabled person, the victim might not even possess the ability to understand what has happened. In other cases, the victim is too intoxicated to give consent or is actually unconscious. These factors make the sexual contact non-consensual.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim Against a Sexual Offender in Atlanta, Georgia
In Atlanta, Georgia any kind of sexual offence that is reported to the authorities can and will result in criminal charges. However, as a victim of sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery, you can also file a civil lawsuit for personal injury to receive monetary compensation for any physical or emotional harm that you have suffered. The amount and type of compensation that you receive will depend of the specific details and facts of your case, what treatment was required, and how severe your suffering has been. You may even get punitive damages in such a case, as a punishment against the offender for their crime.
In some cases, there might be no criminal case, or the person who committed sexual battery might not be found guilty in the criminal trial. However, you should be aware that you can still file and prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, irrespective of the status of the criminal case.
It is relatively easier to receive compensation for personal injury cases of sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery than it is for other personal injury cases. This is because all that you will usually have to prove in such cases is that it is more likely than not that the alleged person committed the crime. You will, however, have to provide some kind of proof of the incident and the damages, like medical bills and the alleged offender’s past criminal records, and any other relevant evidence that might help you establish your case.
All of this can be very challenging and overwhelming for someone who has been sexually violated. Many victims don’t want to pursue a personal injury claim because they don’t want to relive what happened to them, and they may want to put the situation behind them. Yet, this could leave the victim facing tremendous expense in treatment and recovery from the assault. In the best case scenario, as a victim of sexual assault, you will have a skilled and empathetic Atlanta, GA personal injury attorney to represent you so that the burden of establishing your claim and recovering compensation does not fall solely on your shoulders. Contact the Bader Law Firm to learn more about we can help you with your personal injury claim.