Having sex on the beach in Georgia could result in misdemeanor - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Having sex on the beach in Georgia could result in misdemeanor

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A Florida couple was convicted on charges in connection to having sex on a beach in front of children. 

They're now forced to register as sex offenders and are facing up to 15 years in prison. While having sex on the beach in Georgia is also illegal, local law experts say legal punishments could be significantly less.

"Very big difference in the consequences between Georgia and Florida," said one Columbus attorney Katonga Wright. 

Wright explained that a sex on the beach situation in Georgia would be a misdemeanor, while in Florida it is a felony carrying much harsher punishments.

Some people on a Bradenton Florida beach were outraged to see such a graphic act happening in a supposed family-friendly public place. A jury found the couple involved, guilty within minutes this week, and now 15 years behind bars could be their fate.

However, experts says a prosecutor would have to tack on additional charges to reach that level of legal severity in Georgia.

"Under the current statute, under the facts of the individuals that decide to have the inappropriate behavior on the beach there in Manatee County, it would be a misdemeanor, now of course a prosecutor could always attach some additional charges," said Wright.

That however doesn't necessarily mean you would get away with it says experts.

"A prosecutor who is looking at really sending a message about deterring this type of behavior could attach some charges that could include the fact that these types of acts were performed in front of a minor," said Wright.

Viewers posted mixed opinions on our Facebook page, some questioning if the list of crimes that results in becoming a registered sex offender has gotten too broad. Some people say it's hard to differentiate between people who have consensual sex on the beach from rapists or child molesters.

If you want to know if any sex offenders live in your area, you can check sites like city-data.com or homefacts.com where the type of offence is also listed.

We spoke with officials from the Muscogee District Attorney's office who tell us you can also get flagged as a sex offender if you are charged with kidnapping or false imprisonment of a minor, even if sexual acts are not necessarily performed.

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