Knowing the age of consent in Oklahoma is crucial. If you are not aware of the age of consent, even a relationship that is consensual could wind up having serious consequences, including getting you put on the sex offender registry. In Oklahoma, the age of consent is 16 years old. If you or a loved is dating someone who tells you they are 16 years or older, you may want to independently verify the person's actual age.
There are many other issues to consider when discussing the age of consent in Oklahoma.
What is the "Age of Consent?"
"Age of consent" is a term meaning the time when a person is legally mature enough to agree to sexual intercourse or sexual conduct with someone else. The federal age of consent is 16 years old. Under federal law, it is criminal conduct for a person to have sexual relations or conduct with another person who is between age 12 and 16 if they are at least four years younger than the older person.
There is no one general age of consent in the United States. The federal age of consent law only applies to sex acts which are federal in nature, such as those which involve travel between two or more states, other countries, or which occur on federal property.
What is Oklahoma's Age of Consent?
All fifty states have their own approach to determining the age of consent. In some states, like Florida, any sexual activity with a person who is below the age of consent is considered statutory rape. However, in Oklahoma, the law considers the relative ages of both parties. The Oklahoma age of consent is 16 years old. The age of consent is determined by the difference in age between the two parties, which is limited by a minimum age. The law recognizes an age differential of two years. As a result, a person cannot be convicted of rape with anyone over age 14, if the person consented to sexual conduct and the older person was two years older or less. However, if the defendant is older than 18 at the time the sexual act happened, then they can be arrested for statutory rape.
What is Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape is not the same thing as forcible rape. Statutory rape statutes define the crime as sexual contact with an individual who is below the legal age of consent. These laws were drafted in order to stop adults from having sex with minors, but other teenagers have also been charged with statutory rape if they are older than the age of consent but their partner is under the legal age of consent.
A person does not have to force the minor to have sexual intercourse in order to be guilty of statutory rape. Both parties can agree to have sexual conduct, but if one is below the legal age of consent, legally he or she will be treated as if they are mentally incapable of consenting to a sexual relationship. Statutory rape differs from child sexual abuse or molestation cases because those sex offenses involve sexual conduct with a child who has yet to reach puberty.
The fact that statutory rape is considered a strict liability crime is what makes it such a serious charge. The prosecutor only needs to prove that there was sexual intercourse or conduct, and it does not matter legally that the minor purported to consent to the sexual conduct. If a person is convicted of statutory rape, it is classified as rape under the Oklahoma penal code.
What are the Penalties for Oklahoma Statutory Rape?
Oklahoma statutory rape is considered a sex crime, just like molestation or rape. Penalties are dependent on the age of the defendant and victim, and the type of conduct which occurred. First-degree statutory rape is consensual sex between a minor who is younger than 14 and a defendant who is 18 years or older. The penalty for first-degree rape is a minimum of five years in prison.
Second-degree statutory rape is consensual sex between a minor who is 14 or 15, and a defendant who is older than 18 years old. The penalties for second-degree statutory rape include at least one year in prison. Some instances of statutory rape are also classified as sex crimes which require the defendant to register as a sex offender.
What if the Defendant Made a Mistake About Age?
If is common for defendants charged with statutory rape to claim that they did not know the other person was legally underage. Although this happens frequently, under Oklahoma law, a person cannot raise mistake of age as a defense to statutory rape. Since statutory rape is a strict liability crime, the prosecutor does not need to prove that the defendant knowingly had sexual relations with someone who was under the age of consent. The prosecutor only needs to prove the age of the victim and whether the defendant actually engaged in sexual relations with him or her.
Oklahoma Age of Consent Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been charged with statutory rape in Oklahoma, you need an attorney with experience in defending sex crimes. Schedule a meeting with an experienced Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer to find out more. Contact our law firm today, or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) and one of our attorneys will speak with you about your case. Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.