What one person may see as a flirtatious, playful slap, another may view as a sexual battery—a felony sex offense that carries harsh penalties and lifetime sex offender registration. Under Oklahoma law, sexual battery is a catch-all sex crime that includes acts of sexual contact or sexual assault that fall short of rape or forcible sodomy.
When the victim of sexual assault is a child, the crime is charged as Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to a Child under 16. The same statute that proscribes lewd acts with a minor, often called child molestation, also prohibits those same acts with an adult or teenager aged 16 or older. When the victim is at least 16 years of age, the age of legal consent to sex in Oklahoma, unwanted sexual contact is charged as sexual battery.
Being charged with sexual battery can be a challenging legal battle. Being convicted can be devastating. Finding a defense lawyer who can help you fight against felony conviction and sex offender registration is critical to protecting your rights and your future.
Oklahoma Sexual Battery Law
Lewd acts with minors are defined, prohibited, and penalized under 21 O.S. § 1123 (A) of the Oklahoma criminal code. While § 1123 deals with child sexual abuse, it also prohibits the sexual assault of those aged 16 and older in subsection B. State law defines sexual battery as "the intentional touching, mauling or feeling of the body or private parts of any person sixteen (16) years of age or older, in a lewd and lascivious manner" under the following circumstances:
- Without consent of the victim
- When committed by a federal, state, county, or municipal employee against a person in the custody or under the supervision of that agency
- When committed by a teacher or employee of a school system against a person under the age of 20 who is a student in that same school system
In other words, the sexual battery is sexual contact with a person who either does not provide consent or is legally unable to consent.
Sexual battery is a felony sex crime, and it is punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison. Additionally, sexual battery is considered a Level 3 sex offense. Level 3 sex offenses are considered the most serious sex crimes. They include offenses such as forcible rape, child rape, and child molestation. As a Level 3 offense, sexual battery is ranked among these egregious crimes and carries lifetime sex offender registration with address verification required every 90 days.
Sexual Battery Defense Strategies
In order to obtain a conviction for sexual battery, prosecutors must prove all elements of the crime:
- There was physical contact ("touching, feeling, or mauling")
- The contact was intentional
- The contact was sexual in nature ("lewd and lascivious")
- The victim did not consent to the contact or was legally prevented from providing consent
Accidentally bumping or brushing against someone in a crowded area is not sexual battery, as it is neither intentional nor sexual in nature. Using a crowded area as a cover for an intentional grope, however, is. A slap on the backside after a good play in sports is typically not sexual battery, as it has no sexual intent and is a commonly accepted show of sportsmanship. This same move, however, is generally going to be considered sexual battery if it is performed against a stranger in a bar.
A skillful defense attorney can work to disprove elements of intent, lack of consent, and lewd or lascivious purpose. Having a sexual battery charge dismissed or reduced to simple assault can mean the difference between walking free or being forced to register as a sex offender for life. You may have thought you were only flirting. Another person may have misunderstood your horseplay, or may have escalated a minor incident to major proportions. Find out how we can help you aggressively fight to restore your good name. Call (405) 418-8888 today.
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