Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Child Pornography Charges

In Georgia, one of the most damaging areas of the criminal justice system is that of sex crimes, particularly those involving children. This includes charges relating to child pornography. Child pornography is a complex, serious area of the law, and individuals who are facing child pornography charges likely are overwhelmed and concerned about the security of their future and their ability to fight against such serious charges.

Child pornography is a delicate area of the law, and investigations often involve forensic scientists, specialized technology, and a great deal of time and patience. Unfortunately, the individuals who are subject to the investigation often find themselves also subject to social stigma, complicated relationships, and complications with professional and educational pursuits.

Child Pornography Crimes in Georgia

There are several instances that may result in charges of child pornography, including:

  • Sexual exploitation of children
  • Online chatting between adults and minors
  • “Sexting” between adults and minors
  • Online file sharing
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Producing or distributing child pornography

While these are the most common instances classified as child pornography related crimes, there are many variables to Georgia law, which may alter the charges, and the course of your case, significantly. Georgia code states that it is illegal for anyone to possess, produce, or distribute any material depicting minors engaged in sexual behaviors or simulating sexual behaviors. This includes photographs, videos, online files, and other online and print materials. Because this section of the law is so broad, there are many activities and behaviors that may be classified as child pornography, well beyond the scope of the items listed above.

Penalties for Child Pornography

Georgia law is very strict in regards to child pornography charges, and therefore is equally strict with administering penalties for those who are convicted of such crimes. While the penalties for child pornography charges may vary depending on the exact nature of the charges, the most common penalties include:

  • Fines – Fines for a conviction of child pornography can range from a few hundred dollars up to $100,000.
  • Prison – A prison sentence for child pornography charges can range from five years, up to 20 years, depending on the exact nature of the charges.
  • Permanent Record - One of the most detrimental penalties that results from a conviction of child pornography is the permanent record and mandatory registration as a sex offender. A permanent record for sex crimes can have a devastating effect on the defendant’s life, including his or her ability to secure employment.

These penalties may be administered individually, or in combination with one another or other penalties.

Get Guidance with Child Pornography Charges 

There is no question that child pornography charges are complex and difficult to overcome. It is critical that anyone who is charged with child pornography related crimes get the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Abt Law Firm, LLC, our skilled Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney is well versed in the technology and tactics used by prosecutors to sway a jury and obtain a conviction. We work diligently to provide our clients with the best, most comprehensive legal representation possible.

To protect you and your loved ones from the damage that child pornography charges or a conviction can cause, call Abt Law Firm, LLC today at 1-800-NO JAIL-9 (1-800-665-2459). We proudly offer 24/7 assistance to our clients including consultations. Schedule your free consultation today at our office, at the jail if you are incarcerated, or over the telephone at your convenience. We are here to help all Georgia residents secure the best outcome possible for even the most complicated cases, including child pornography or related charges.

Atlanta Prostitution Defense Attorney Discusses Georgia’s Prostitution Laws

One of the most sensitive areas of Georgia law is that of sex crimes. While most people think of sex crimes as being the acts of rape, sodomy, or prostitution, Georgia’s sex crime laws go much deeper. In fact, throughout the Metro Atlanta area, law enforcement continues to “crack down” on sex offenses, including those taking place over the internet or other technology. Another area of sex offenses that Georgia law enforcement takes seriously is that of prostitution. While prostitution may be one of the oldest “professions” in the United States, it is also one of the most controversial, and most often, illegal.

Georgia Law and Prostitution

There are several offenses classified under the umbrella of prostitution, including the following:

• Prostitution – Prostitution can be defined as offering, performing, or agreeing to perform any sexual act in exchange for something that is valuable. This may include money, drugs, property, or other services. Under Georgia law, the act does not need to be fulfilled in order for a prostitution charge to be made.
• Pandering – Pandering can be defined as gathering or soliciting one or more individuals for engaging in acts of prostitution. Pandering may occur on behalf of a third party, or may involve a group of individuals brought together for the purpose of prostitution. It is also considered pandering when an individual persuades someone else to partake in acts of prostitution with the goal of splitting any valuables earned.
• Pimping – Pimping includes any behavior designed to encourage prostitution, such as scheduling a meeting between a prostitute and customer, demanding an individual to partake in prostitution, or benefitting from acts of prostitution. Often, pimps are third parties to the individuals who commit acts of prostitution, and his or her clients, but acts as a source of information and transportation.
• Place of Prostitution – Under Georgia law, it is illegal to maintain a place of prostitution. This may include using a home, apartment, hotel room, or other property for the purpose of prostitution. This crime is distinct from prostitution, though often accompanies prostitution charges.
Penalties for Prostitution

Depending on the nature of the charge, and any mitigating circumstances, the penalties for a prostitution conviction can be life altering. The most common penalties in Georgia include:

• Expensive fines, possibly up to $100,000 depending on the circumstances
• Mandatory registration on the Sex Offender Registry
• Incarceration between 1 and 10 years
• Probation

Georgia law is strict concerning prostitution. In recent years, Georgia lawmakers and enforcers have been working diligently to reduce the number of sex crimes in our state. Unfortunately, not all methods for cracking down on crime are effective. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU) has expressed concern that proposed laws and penalties are extreme and highly controversial. One of the proposed laws includes banning individuals convicted of prostitution from certain areas of Atlanta, or forcing them to leave the city altogether. The ACLU is concerned that police will be placed in a precarious situation, and citizens will be fearful of being arrested for walking or standing in the perceived wrong area.

What to do if you have been accused of a Sex Crime

If you have been accused of a sex crime in Georgia, you likely have many questions about how to fight the charges and secure the best outcome possible. Sex crimes are taken very seriously in Georgia, and are a complicated, sensitive area of the law. It is crucial that you seek the guidance of an experienced Atlanta Prostitution Defense Attorney as soon as you have been charged. If you want to avoid being registered as a sex offender, contact Abt Law Firm, LLC right away. To schedule a free consultation, call us 24/7 at 1-800-NOJAIL-9 (1-800-665-2459).

Atlanta Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Discusses Georgia Politician Accused of Sex Crimes

One of the most important concepts for Georgia residents to remember is no one is excluded from the possibility of being accused of a crime. The law is strict for everyone, be it one of Georgia’s many homeless residents or the politicians and lawmakers themselves. Unfortunately, when a high profile individual, such as a politician, is accused of a crime, the media often spares no time or expense in highlighting the negative aspects of that individual’s life. In many cases, the derogatory media spotlight creates a life-altering stigma that society may not easily let go.

Such is the case for one Georgia politician after he was accused of rape. According to media reports, the Chairman of the Union County Republican Party, a 76-year-old man, was accused of rape and assault of a 39-year-old woman. Investigators allege that the woman was at the Chairman’s home when she called 911 to report that she was being sexually assaulted. Investigators responded to the scene and arrested the Chairman on site.

It is also alleged that the incident was being viewed over Skype, though preliminary reports do not indicate what the connection is to Skype and the alleged assault. Following arrest, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate, which led to the Chairman being charged with criminal intent to commit rape. The woman involved in this story was not physically injured, though reports provide little information about her condition and involvement in the case.

The Chairman was taken to the Union County Jail, where he had not posted bail in the days immediately following the incident. Bail could not be established immediately due to the absence of a Superior Court Judge to oversee a bond hearing. Media reports indicate that the Chairman will remain in jail until a bond hearing can be set and bail posted. It is unclear how long it is anticipated for the process to continue.

Stories like this one highlight the serious nature of sex crimes, and the potential for serious penalties both before and after a conviction. For this Chairman, his life will never be the same. Though he remains innocent until proven guilty, his reputation has been tarnished, and his position in politics called into question. Additionally, there is no question that his time spent in jail is detrimental to his relationship with friends and family.

It is Crucial to Get Help after a Sex Crime Charge

Stories like this one also highlight the importance of defending oneself against any sex crimes charges. Georgia law is strict and severe against individuals who are accused of sexual offenses. However, this is a complicated area of the law, and in many cases, the individual accused did not intend to commit a crime, or in fact did not. Fortunately, anyone accused of committing a crime in Georgia has the fundamental right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. With the aid of a skilled Atlanta Sex Crimes Defense Attorney, Georgia residents may find that they can avoid the damaging stigma, prolonged jail time, and life-altering consequences of sex crimes charges.

If you are battling sex crimes charges anywhere in Georgia, get the help you need to defend your rights, and your future, right away. At Abt Law Firm, LLC, we understand how damaging criminal charges and convictions are, and work diligently to prevent you from facing the worst-case scenario. Whether you are in jail or out on bail, contact Abt Law Firm, LLC to schedule a free consultation. Keep your record and future clear by calling us 24/7 at 1-800-NOJAIL-9 (1-800-665-2459).

Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Sexual Assault by a Supervisor

Sexual assault is a crime that is taken very seriously in Georgia. This is the case whether the crime is based on the use of actual force or threat or some other assertion of power or authority. When a person who is in a position of authority engages in sexual relations with someone under his or her control or authority, the crime of sexual assault may have been committed. Although these crimes should be taken very seriously by the legislature and law enforcement officers, the fact is that the laws have gone to the extreme and people accused of a crime simply based on his or her employment face penalties far in excess of the sentences handed down to people who have committed far more serious crimes.

A person may be charged with the crime of sexual assault by an individual who is in a position with supervisory or disciplinary authority over the individual with whom he had sexual contact when they make engage in any sort of sexual activity with a person who is under the authority or control of the role that he holds. This includes people who must be obeyed based on their career choice, such as a police officer or prison guard, or a person who in in a position of trust, such as a doctor or therapist.

People who may fall within the parameters of this statute include:

  • Teachers or administrators;
  • Psychotherapists;
  • Law enforcement officers;
  • Correctional officers, juvenile detention facility employees, or a person who otherwise is in a position to exercise control or dominion over the juvenile;
  • Probation or parole officers;
  • Hospital employees who engage in sexual contact with a person who is a patient, whether that person is known to be a patient or is in such a situation as the defendant should have known that he or she was a patient; and
  • Other individuals who have authority to impact another person’s education, health, safety, or wellbeing.

This law is intended to protect people who are in a situation where the balance of power is not perceived to be equal. What this does is provide a legal cause of action, even if the two people engaged in consensual sex.

When a crime is committed under this statute, the fact that the other person consented to the sexual contact is not a defense to the crime. If a person is convicted of a crime of sexual assault pursuant to this law, then he or she may be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. This is the same as a person who has been convicted of trafficking in illegal narcotics. When there are other factors present, including the fact that the defendant sexually assaulted a person under the age of 16 years, then the mandatory minimum increases significantly. It is critical for a person arrested for this crime to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Aggressively Advocates on Behalf of its Clients

State prosecutors consider crimes of sexual assault committed by individuals in a position of authority to be particularly egregious. If you have been accused of this type of crime, it is very important to retain a criminal defense attorney who is prepared to challenge every aspect of the case, including the commission of the assault itself. The Atlanta Criminal Defense Firm of the Abt Law Firm, LLC. has the knowledge and skill to get the right results for you. If you do not want a criminal record, call us immediately at 1 (800) NO JAIL 9 and we can help. We offer free consultations at our office, over the telephone, and are ready to come to you in jail.

Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Statutory Rape Charges

Statutory rape charges are based on the age of the two individuals involved in the sexual activity. Georgia law generally defines statutory rape as occurring when a person has sexual intercourse with someone who is under the age of 16 years. This charge is possible even if the underage individual consents to the sexual act. If the prosecutor chooses to pursue legal charges against the older participant, proving the allegations simply involves establishing two things:

  • The victim of the crime was under the age of 16; and
  • The victim and the person being charged did, in fact, engage in a sexual act that involved penetration.

(See Ga. Code Ann. § 16-6-3). There does have to be some corroborating evidence other than the testimony of the victim. A person convicted of this crime may face from one to 20 years in prison.

Many people are surprised with being charged with this type of crime because the victim consented to the sexual act, and may even have initiated the sexual intercourse. It is important to note that it is not a defense if the person charged with statutory rape believed that the victim was older than 15 years, which would have meant that the victim was older than the legal age of consent. When the age difference becomes greater, specifically where the defendant is older than 20 years of age, the penalties for this crime increase. In a situation where a person is 21 years or older, the defendant may be facing a felony conviction punishable with incarceration in prison from 10 to 20 years.

There are exceptions to the punishment of this crime as a felony, specifically known as the Romeo and Juliet exception. The evolution of this law does recognize that there are times when teenagers are going to voluntarily engage in sexual intercourse, so there are exceptions to charging statutory rape if both individuals are 18 years old or younger and the older person is no more than four years older than the younger individual. However, a person charged with statutory rape under these circumstances may still be charged with a misdemeanor. The way this exception is crafted, the victim cannot be younger than 14 years of age, so an 18 year old defendant can be convicted of a felony for engaging in sexual intercourse with a 13 year old.

One other defense to the charge of statutory rape is where the older person is married to the person who is legally under the age of consent. This defense is a holdover from the days where there was an exception to marital rape and it is controversial in many cases where it has been asserted. (See Ga. Code Ann. § 16-6-3).

The crime of statutory rape is distinct from a sexual crime where the victim did not give consent or was forced, which will result in a charge of sexual battery or sexual assault.

The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Aggressively Advocates on Behalf of its Clients

Many times, a person is taken by surprise by charges of statutory rape. Parents of a teenager who has been charged with this crime should take immediate action to get their child an experienced and zealous attorney in order to fight against the charges that could destroy a young person’s future. The Atlanta Criminal Defense Firm of the Abt Law Firm, LLC. knows how a criminal record can harm a young person with an unlimited future in front of him. We will work with you to do everything possible to prevent someone who made a foolish mistake from facing a lifetime of consequences. If you do not want a criminal record, call us immediately at 1 (800) NO JAIL 9 or 1 (800) 665-2459 and we can help. We offer free consultations at our office, over the telephone, and are ready to come to you in jail.

Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Sex Crime Charges

There are many different types of sex crimes with which a person can be charged. Oftentimes, this type of charge leads a person to face social outrage, employment restrictions, and loss of rights, as well as a number of serious criminal consequences. When a person is being charged with or investigated for a sex crime, it is critical to get experienced legal help as quickly as possible, which many people do not do because of shame about the nature of the charge. This failure or delay could have devastating consequences.

Although there are numerous charges that can lead to a felony conviction, sex crimes can be charged as a misdemeanor, based on the facts of the case. Many times, the prosecutor has discretion to charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony, so it is crucial to have a skilled attorney to ensure that the charges are minimized, if not dismissed entirely. This also has ramifications for the type of sex offender registration, which can impact how quickly a person can be removed from the registry. Some crimes that may be charged as a misdemeanor include solicitation of a prostitute, possessing pornography, public indecency, and lascivious acts. The penalties for these types of crimes typically include a sentence of up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.00. If there have been previous convictions for similar crimes then it may have to be charged as a felony.

If the crime involves an adult and a minor child, then it will be charged as a felony. These crimes include possessing, creating, distributing, or publishing child pornography, child molestation, statutory rape, and forcible rape and are prosecuted aggressively in Georgia. Other sex crimes are:

  • Sexual assault;
  • Sexual battery;
  • Stalking;
  • Prostitution;
  • Rape (including acquaintance rape and statutory rape); and
  • Forcible sodomy.

There are more than 20 acts that fall within the category of sex crimes and when a person is convicted of one of these crimes, he or she may end up facing harsh penalties and being forced to register as a sex offender. This registration means that the crime will continue to haunt the individual long after he has served his sentence.

When the prosecution is putting together a sex crimes case, there are many different factors that go into the compilation of evidence and testimony that will be used against the defendant, including the following considerations:

  • How old was the alleged victim of the crime at the time of the criminal act?
  • Was the offense committed over a period of time?
  • How many instances of sexual contact was there?
  • Was there a weapon used during the commission of the crime?
  • Did the person accused of the crime use a computer or other electronic device as part of the criminal activity?
  • Does the accused have any other convictions for sex offenses?

A person who is charged with a sex crime in Georgia runs the risk of serious penalties, including the possibility of mandatory prison terms, as well as social ostracism. It is imperative that a person fight hard against these charges with the representation of a skilled and dedicated criminal defense attorney.

The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Aggressively Fights for its Clients

There is a unique stigma surrounding sex crimes that leads to a disparity of treatment of a defendant, even if she or he is innocent of the charges. In order to fight against this injustice, it is critical to have a tenacious and experienced criminal defense attorney ready to combat the accusations and attack the prosecutor’s case.       The Atlanta Criminal Defense Firm of the Abt Law Firm, LLC. is prepared to go to battle on your behalf. If you want to take all measures to avoid having a permanent criminal record, call us immediately at 1 (800) NO JAIL 9 or 1 (800) 665-2459 and we can help. We offer free consultations, whether in person or over the telephone, and are ready to come to you in jail, should the need arise.   We look forward to providing you with superior criminal defense representation.

Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses the Sex Offender Registry

Sex crimes are a very serious matter and should never be treated lightly. However, many times, a person is charged and convicted of a sex crime when the actual wrongdoing was minimal, such as sexting with a girlfriend or having sex with a younger classmate. These offenses may lead to mandatory registration as a sex offender, which will change the course of a person’s life.

Once a person has registered as a sex offender, he or she may discover that many different doors now are closed. In addition, registered sex offenders are restricted from living in certain areas or working in various fields. A sex offender also may have to notify neighbors of the registry status when moving into a new area, which often leads to terrible harassment. Even a person who was convicted of a sex crime outside of the State of Georgia must register when he moves into the state.

Some of the crimes that lead to a sex offender registration include:

  • A sexually-based offense involving a minor child – this has been extended to include kidnapping and/or false imprisonment;
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Child pornography, which may include creation, distribution, publication, or possession;
  • Aggravated sexual assault; and
  • Enticement.

A person who is convicted of a crime that qualifies for sex offender registration will be classified based on the severity of the crime and an assessment of the risk that this person poses with regard to whether or not he is likely to re-offend. There are low-level offenders who may be able to get off the registry quickly after fulfilling the terms of their sentence. This is critically important in order to escape the negative consequences of being on the sex offender registry.

A relatively recent change to the sex offender registration law (2010) allows a Level I (low-level) offender to petition to be removed from the list as soon as he or she has fulfilled the terms of incarceration or sentencing, including serving out the time on parole or probation, complying with all registration requirements, and meeting all supervision criteria. Under the previous provisions of the law, a person had to wait 10 years to petition for removal from the registration.

One of the first steps is to get a risk assessment if that was not done as part of the conviction process. There is a Sex Offender Registration Review Board that will be ordered by the court as part of the petition process to assess the individual. The case only will proceed to a hearing before the court if the individual is classified as a Level I offender. If the classification comes back as a Level II offender, which is deemed to be moderate risk, the individual will have to wait 10 years from the time the sentence was served completely before seeking removal from the registration. A person does have the right to contest the classification level.

In order to receive release from the registration requirement, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • The person must not have any other convictions for sex crimes or for crimes involving minors;
  • The person must not have used a dangerous weapon during the commission of the crime;
  • The person must not have transported the victim between locations;
  • The person must not have restrained the victim physically;
  • The person must not have harmed the victim intentionally during the commission of the crime; and
  • There must not be any history of similar offenses that did not result in charges or convictions.

Being labeled as a sex offender can change a person’s life forever. It is critical to fight against charges that carry this likelihood as zealously as possible.

The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Aggressively Fights for its Clients

Any type of sexually-based crime carries with it the potential for incarceration and heavy fines, but when there is a possibility of being required to register as a sex offender, it is crucial to have the best possible defense. The Atlanta Criminal Defense Firm of the Abt Law Firm, LLC. will fight tenaciously to protect your rights. If you do not want a criminal record, call us immediately at 1 (800) NO JAIL 9 or 1 (800) 665-2459 and we can help. We offer free consultations at our office, over the telephone, and are ready to come to you in jail.

Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Teenagers and Sexting Charges

Social media has become very important in most people’s lives, but it has a special meaning to teenagers, who rely on it for everything from making plans to documenting their lives. However, when they use smart phones and other electronic devices to take photographs that involve full or complete nudity, then they may face serious charges.

Specifically, it has become almost commonplace for consenting adults to share photographs of each other in less-than-dressed states. Teenagers frequently do not realize that while it is fine, albeit in questionable taste, for adults to participate in this behavior, it may be illegal for them to do it, depending on the age of the person in the image. Many times, teenagers were getting caught up in laws meant to catch pornographers. As a result of this, they were subjected to extremely harsh penalties.

In 2013, Georgia enacted legislation that addressed this type of situation, where teenagers who were arrested on charges of sending images that might constitute pornography face less serious charges.

Sexual Exploitation of a Child

Under Georgia law, a teenager who created, developed, or otherwise possessed the image that is considered sexually explicit, whether of the person in possession or some other person, may be charged with only a misdemeanor if the following facts apply:

  • The teenager being portrayed in the image is at least 14 years of age;
  • The person who possessed the image was less than 18 years of age; and
  • The person who was portrayed in the image affirmatively consented to the creation of the image as well as the distribution.

If the person being charged meets these parameters then he or she will not be charged with a felony, which would otherwise be the charge for creating a sexually explicit image of a minor.

Providing Obscene Material to a Minor via Electronic Means

A teenager who provides another minor with a sexually explicit image, such as sending a naked photograph to a girlfriend, may be charged with a misdemeanor if the following applies:

  • The person who received the image is 14 years of age or older;
  • The person gave consent before receiving the image; and
  • The person who sent the image is under the age of 18.

There is a related law concerning the possession or furnishing of sexually explicit images on the computer. As long as the person in the image is at least 14 years old and the person in possession of the image is less than 18 years old, he only will face misdemeanor charges. However, if the person who is in possession of the image distributes it to others, then the crime will be charged as a felony offense, but only if these is a determination of malicious intent behind the distribution. If there are commercial purposes to the distribution of the image, then the more lenient laws will not apply.

The penalties for teenage sexting charges are far more lenient than those for adults charged with crimes involving the possession or distribution of images of children under 18 years of age. Therefore, it is critically important that a teenager charged with this type of crime is charged under the juvenile track as opposed to the adult track. Even when the person being charged is 18 years of age or older, it is imperative to have a zealous advocate with decades of experience defending clients in Georgia.

The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Aggressively fights for its Clients

The simple act of taking a picture of a girlfriend or boyfriend during or after an intimate moment with no intention to transmit that image may be enough to open someone up to criminal charges if the ages of the parties involved fall within a specific range. If you or your loved one faces these charges, it is crucial to get a tenacious and skilled attorney fighting for you right away. The Atlanta Criminal Defense Firm of the Abt Law Firm, LLC., representing clients throughout Georgia, can get the charges dismissed in many cases. In others, it is possible to negotiate down the charges to a misdemeanor and get the record expunged in accordance with Georgia law. If you do not want a criminal record, call us immediately at 1 (800) NO JAIL 9 or 1 (800) 665-2459 and we can help. We offer free consultations and are ready to come to you in jail.