There is a difference between consent and legal consent for purposes of sexual contact in Oklahoma. In essence, consent is not valid unless a person has the ability to give legal consent.
The age of consent for sexual intercourse in Oklahoma is 16 years. A child under that age may not give legal consent for sexual contact.
Statutory rape is not a violent crime in any jurisdiction. Instead, the crime usually involves willing partners. The problems is that one of the partners is unable to give legal consent to the interaction.
As such, statutory rape, or second-degree rape, is a far cry from the type of violent sexual assault that we associate with first-degree rape. Second-degree rape, however, remains a serious crime in Oklahoma.
Statutory rape can occur in a number of situations. The parties to the intercourse can be of the same or opposite sex. Statutory rape applies to all these situations:
- The victim is under the age of 16, but not younger than 14;
- The perpetrator caused the victim to believe that they are married and so intercourse is okay;
- The victim, because of unsound mind or other infirmity, is unable to give consent;
- The perpetrator is employed by a governmental or other agency of which the victim was under legal custody or supervision, and the perpetrator exercised authority over the victim;
- The victim was between 16 and 20 years of age and was a student or under the legal supervision of a school and the defendant was 18 years of age or older and was an employee of the victim’s school; or
- The victim was 19 years or younger and in the legal custody of a court or other state or federal agency and the defendant was either the foster parent or foster parent applicant.
If the child is under 14 years of age, even if a willing partner to the act, sexual intercourse may result in a first-degree rape charge for the older partner.
Romeo and Juliet Exception May Apply
The law recognizes an exception in which both partners are close in age. The exception is sometimes called the Romeo and Juliet law, and pertains to people who are at least 14 years old and younger than 19. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1112
The exception provides that prosecution is prohibited even though one of the partners is under the age of consent. The statutory rape law is really aimed at a situation involving an older predator rather than youngsters dating.
Penalties for Statutory Rape Can Be Harsh
If convicted, you could face anywhere from 1 to 15 years in prison. The sentencing judge has broad discretion in the amount of time a defendant faces.
In addition, if convicted, a defendant must register for the sex offender registry. This can be a difficult outcome for a person convicted of statutory rape. This can limit where a person is able to live and work for years.
If you or a loved one are facing charges and have questions, it is important that you hire an experienced Oklahoma defense lawyer as soon as possible. Facts are important and can help protect your freedom. Get the help you need.
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