Most kids know right from wrong. They understand that actions have consequences. However, they often lack the maturity to understand the seriousness of an offense and just how damaging those consequences can be. Often, teens have a sense of invulnerability coupled with a lack of impulse control that can wreak havoc on their futures.
If your child has made a terrible mistake, he or she can learn from the experience without having to ruin his or her entire future. Protect your hopes, plans, and dreams for your child by finding an attorney who is willing to vigorously defend him against criminal charges and unnecessary criminal penalties pursued by prosecutors wanting to appear tough on crime. Your child is more than the sum of his or her mistakes; don't let your child's future go to waste.
On the other hand, that same impulsivity that gets teens into trouble can cause trouble for other young people. A teenager may cry "rape" after a consensual sexual encounter in order to protect her reputation or to divert her parents' anger at her onto someone else. Fighting false accusations of rape or sexual battery can be challenging. Many times, the defendant is assumed to be guilty by his or her peers and adults in the community. Your child needs a strong advocate who believes in his innocence and aggressively defends against wrongful allegations.
Teen Sex Crimes
In very few instances does Oklahoma law differentiate between sex crimes committed by an adult aged 18 or older and those committed by a juvenile under the age of 18. Typically, if the act is illegal for an adult, it is illegal for a minor.
Exceptions include certain circumstances of second degree rape, or statutory rape. In Oklahoma, the age of consent to sex is 16. If an adult over the age of 18 has seemingly consensual sex with someone over the age of 14 who has not yet reached the age of legal consent, he or she will be charged with second degree rape. However, state law prevents rape charges from being filed against anyone aged 18 or younger who has consensual sex with a person over the age of 14:
"No person can be convicted of rape or rape by instrumentation on account of an act of sexual intercourse with anyone over the age of fourteen (14) years, with his or her consent, unless such person was over the age of eighteen (18) years at the time of such act." (21 O.S. § 1112)
While certain acts of rape are charged as rape in the first degree based on the age of the perpetrator and the victim, others are considered first degree rape regardless of the age of the person who commits the offense:
- Forcible rape
- Rape of a person incapable of providing legal consent due to mental illness or unsoundness of mind
- Rape by instrumentation resulting in great bodily harm
In addition to first degree rape, other sex offenses with which a juvenile may be criminally charged include:
- Second degree rape
- Attempted rape
- Child rape, or rape of a minor under the age of 14
- Rape by instrumentation
- Lewd molestation
- Forcible sodomy
When your child is charged with a sex crime, it is imperative that you find legal representation as quickly as possible. With the help of a qualified and experienced sex crime defense lawyer, your child may be able to conquer this legal battle and move forward to secure a brighter future.
Oklahoma Youthful Offender Act
It is a common belief that criminal cases of minors under the age of 18 are handled in juvenile court. For misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, this is typically the case. A minor is not "convicted" of a crime, but adjudicated delinquent by the juvenile court system. However, the Oklahoma Youthful Offender Act provides two additional ways a juvenile may be prosecuted, including as an adult.
In Oklahoma, a juvenile is tried as an adult if he or she is aged 15, 16, or 17 and charged with first degree murder. A 13-year-old or 14-year-old charged with first degree murder may be charged as an adult or certified as a youthful offender.
The Oklahoma Youthful Offender Act is a middle ground between adjudicating a juvenile as delinquent and trying him as an adult. It provides harsh consequences for youth convicted of serious crimes, but allows the opportunity for rehabilitation.
Conditions under which a juvenile is charged as a youthful offender for a sex offense include:
- Minors aged 15, 16, or 17 who are charged with
- First degree rape
- Attempted first degree rape
- Rape by instrumentation
- Lewd molestation
- Forcible sodomy
- Minors aged 16 or 17 who are charged with second degree rape
A juvenile arrested for a misdemeanor or nonviolent crime will be held in a juvenile detention center, but a youthful offender is housed in county jail. While a person adjudicated delinquent is often released shortly after turning 18, a person convicted as a youthful offender will transfer to the state penitentiary. By hiring a criminal lawyer specializing in sex crime defense, you afford your child the opportunity for a dismissal or acquittal. Barring these options, your child's attorney can skillfully negotiating minimum sentencing that provides your child a chance for rehabilitation.
Oklahoma Juvenile Sex Crime Defense
Unlike adult sex crimes, which are motivated by a need for dominance, control, and violence, juvenile sex crimes are typically motivated by impulsivity, curiosity, and drug or alcohol abuse. A person who commits a sex offense as a juvenile is not likely to reoffend, and being branded as a sex offender can only create lifetime hardships once a teen has paid the price for his or her crime.
If your family is in turmoil after allegations of rape or sexual assault, call Phillips & Associates for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and successful sex crime defense lawyer. Call (405) 418-8888 today.
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