What is the Age of Consent in Oklahoma?
Everyone must remember that the age of consent in Oklahoma is 16. However, if you are older than 18, it's better to draw a mental barrier at 18-year-olds just to be safe....because if they look like they are 18 they are probably 16, and if they look like they are 16, they are probably 14.
Regardless, the discussion does not stop at the 16-year-old marker. There are many other issues to consider when discussing the age of consent in Oklahoma.
“Age of consent” is the age when a person is considered legally mature enough to agree to sexual intercourse or sexual conduct with another person. In the United States, the federal age of consent is 16. Federal law makes it criminal to engage in sexual conduct with another person who is between the age of 12 and 16 if they are at least four years younger than the older actor. Federal law, however, applies only to sexual acts that involve travel between different states, different countries, or which occur on federal property.
Each state takes a different approach to its individual determination of the age of consent, as the threshold has ranged throughout history from as low as 10 years of age all the way up to 18. Some states, such as Florida and New York, set an age at which all sexual intercourse is considered statutory rape.
Other states use a different method, which takes into account the relative ages of both parties. In these states, such as Oklahoma, the age of consent is determined by age difference between the two parties and is limited by a minimum age. For example, a state may set a minimum age of consent at 14, but limit consent to partners who are within 3 years of their age. This would allow a 16-year-old to lawfully have sex with a 14-year-old, but make it criminal for an 18-year-old to have sex with the same 14-year-old.
In Oklahoma, the age of consent is 16, and the law recognizes an age differential of two years. This means that no person can be convicted of rape or rape by instrumentation with anyone over the age of 14, with that person’s consent, unless the defendant was older than 18 at the time the sexual act occurred. Though statutory rape is a strict liability crime which does not require the prosecutor to prove that an assault occurred, it is still classified as rape under the Oklahoma penal code.
Statutory rape is prosecuted under Oklahoma’s rape and sex crimes laws. Penalties for statutory rape depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, and the conduct that occurred. For example, first degree rape includes consensual sex between a minor who is younger than 14 and a defendant who is 18 years or older. First degree rape carries a penalty of at least five years (and up to life) in prison. Second degree rape includes consensual sex between a minor who is 14 or 15, and a defendant who is older than 18. Penalties includes at least one year (and up to 15 years) in prison. In addition to incarceration, State law requires people convicted of certain sex crimes (including some instances of statutory rape) to register as sex offenders.
Defendants charged with statutory rape have the usual defenses available to all criminal defendants. However, defendants accused of statutory rape often claim they had no reason to know their partner was underage. The Defendants may argue that the victims represented themselves as older than they really were, and that a reasonable person would have believed such representation.
Even if this is true, Oklahoma does not allow a defendant to rely on a mistake of age, even a reasonable one, to avoid a sex crime conviction for statutory rape. As stated above, statutory rape is a strict liability crime, so a malicious intent or a “guilty mind” is not necessary. All that matters is the age of the alleged victim and whether the sexual conduct actually occurred.
If you or a loved one has been charged with rape or statutory rape in Oklahoma, time is of the essence. You need an experienced sex crimes attorney, and you need one right now. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and retain an accomplished attorney ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation.