Can I Go to Prison Just for Touching Someone in Georgia?


Some people in Georgia express themselves more physically than others. In some cultures and families, even the most mundane conversation involves plenty of touching. But when does physical touching become a criminal offense in Georgia? Can a person really accuse you of a crime because you laid a hand on them? Whether you are trying to defend yourself against assault charges or sexual offenses in Georgia, a criminal defense lawyer can help. 

Can You Face Assault Charges for Touching Someone in Georgia?

Touching someone without permission could theoretically lead to assault charges in Georgia. However, prosecutors would need to prove that you attempted to cause a “violent injury.” Alternatively, you could face assault charges for touching someone in a manner that makes them fear imminent harm. For example, you might face an assault charge for touching a person in a threatening manner – but without actually causing any injury. If you simply touch a person in a non-threatening manner without causing any injuries, assault or battery charges are unlikely. 

Can You Face Sexual Battery Charges for Touching Someone in Georgia?

Even if you did not cause any injuries, you could be charged with sexual battery if you touch someone without their permission. However, you can only face this charge if you touch someone’s “intimate parts.” These include:

  • Inner thighs
  • Anus
  • Groin
  • Primary genital area (crotch)
  • Buttocks

If the alleged victim is a woman, there is one additional intimate area that falls under sexual battery laws — the breasts. 

If you touch any of these areas without permission, you could face a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature with a maximum jail sentence of one year. If the alleged victim is a child under the age of 16, you face a felony and one to five years in prison. Regardless of the victim’s age, any subsequent convictions after a first misdemeanor offense will result in the same felony penalties. 

What if I Never Intended to Touch the Person in a Sexual Manner?

Intent is an important element of sexual battery in Georgia. If you never intended to make physical contact, prosecutors may struggle to convict you. For example, you might have slipped on a wet floor before accidentally falling onto another person. If you make contact with their breasts while trying to regain your balance, this should not constitute sexual battery. 

However, you can still face penalties for touching an intimate area – even if you believe that the contact was not sexual in nature. For example, you might place your hands on the inner thighs of a woman during conversation. This would still constitute sexual battery under Georgia law. It might be your opinion that the interaction was completely innocent, but this does not represent a valid defense in Georgia. 

Fight for Your Rights with a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer

Baseless accusations are distressing – but they do not always lead to convictions. Give yourself the best possible chance of a positive outcome by consulting with a criminal defense lawyer in Georgia. Lankford & Moore Law has specific experience with sexual offenses, family violence battery, and similar charges. Book your consultation today to get started with a defense strategy. 

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Mahatma Gandhi

Lankford & Moore Law in Downtown Lawrenceville

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