One of the worst things a person can go through is sexual assault. While many people never reveal that such an offense has occurred, due to the shame or fear of the offender, it is important to take steps to address such an incident, to hold the offender accountable for their actions, and to give yourself some closure as you heal from the emotional and physical harm. This is where many want to know if it is possible to file a personal injury claim against someone who has sexually assaulted them. To answer this question, we’re going to first look at exactly how such offenses are defined by the law, and what kinds of consequences offenders can face.
Sexual Assault as Defined by Carrollton, Georgia Law
To start with, let’s look at the definition of assault and battery in Carrollton, Georgia law. Assault refers to any threat,
attempt, or actual physical attack intended to harm someone. Battery refers to actually and intentionally harming the person or putting your hands on that person without their consent. Thus, sexual assault and battery are included in these definitions. In sexual battery, an offender harms another person by abusing them sexually, engaging in any kind of sexual content, without the victim’s consent. Not only can the offender face criminal consequences for this behavior, but the victim can also pursue civil damages in the form of a personal injury claim against their attacker.
Criminal Consequences for Sexual Assault Offenders in Carrollton, Georgia
Depending on the severity of the crime, an offender who sexually assaults someone in Carrollton, Georgia may face aggravated misdemeanor or felony charges. This can come with heavy fines, imprisonment for one to five years, with more severe penalties for offenses that are committed against individuals under the age of 16. Further, the individual, if convicted of the crime, is going to have to register as a sex offender which is public information.
The criminal consequences do depend on exactly what kind of crime was committed. For example, rape, aggravated sodomy, or aggravated sexual battery are very serious crimes, even more so when committed against a minor or someone who was mentally handicapped. In some cases these crimes involve individuals who are in no condition to give consent. This could be a child, a mentally handicapped individual, or someone who was unconscious.
How Does Consent Work in a Carrollton, Georgia Sexual Assault Claim?
When it comes to underage victims and mentally handicapped victims, whether or not they gave verbal consent does not factor in, because they are not legally, mentally, or emotionally capable of giving consent. For instance, a mentally handicapped person may give consent to something that they don’t actually understand or might be mislead by the perpetrator, and ultimately do not fully understand what they are consenting too. In the same way, a minor is not legally capable of giving consent to sexual contact which is prohibited by law.
Further, it is possible for people to be forced to give consent or for people to be too confused to understand what they are giving consent to. In these cases, the person is not deemed to have given consent, or in many cases, even capable of giving consent, and the offender cannot claim that their actions were justified by the consent of the victim. If the person is threatened, and gives consent in response to any kind of threat, then this is not legally considered to be consent. Blackmail is another case where a person might give consent due to a threat. It is important to understand that consent does not just mean that the person said, ‘yes.’ The person must understand what they are consenting to, and must be consenting because they choose to, not because they are threatened, blackmailed, confused, or unable to understand.
It is also essential to be aware of the fact that even a person who is fully capable of giving consent and actually does give consent, is allowed to change their mind at any time. If someone gives consent to sexual contact, but becomes uncomfortable with this at any time, then that person can say no, and the person must stop, or else they will be considered to have sexually assaulted the person without their consent. Anything that happens after the victim says no, even if they previously said yes, is illegal and can be punishable by law.
Carrollton, Georgia Personal Injury Claims Against Sexual Assault Offenders
While the person who assaults someone, sexually or otherwise, will face criminal consequences, the victim is also allowed to pursue a separate civil personal injury claim lawsuit. In such a claim, the victim can recover compensation for physical injuries, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, mental health counseling, and any other damages associated with the assault. This can be a very difficult situation for the victim, much like the criminal proceedings. Nobody wants to relive a terrible experience like this, even to get justice and compensation for their trauma. Yet, it is well within your rights as a victim to pursue criminal charges and civil liability.
It is also worthwhile to fully understand that the criminal case and the civil case are two entirely separate situations. Even if the offender cannot be proven guilty beyond a shadow of doubt in a criminal case, the victim can still pursue civil damages in a personal injury claim. The results of the civil claim will not be affected by the results of the criminal case, and vice versa.
The Law Offices of John B. Jackson & Associates Are Here For You
When you have been sexually assaulted, you are dealing with tremendous emotional challenges and you may not know where to turn. Whether you are feeling anger, fear, depression, anxiety, or anything else, you are allowed to have these feelings, and you are allowed to do what you think is right to seek justice and recover compensation. You may require counseling or other support to face the challenges associated with this kind of experience. You may also benefit from contacting the Carrollton, Georgia personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of John B. Jackson & Associates to discuss your legal options. We will be there for you, with empathy and understanding for what you’re going through and a free consultation of your case.