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Understanding Oklahoma Rape Charges

In Oklahoma, there are several acts which are classified as sex offenses. These range from violent, forcible acts of rape or sexual assault to apparently consensual sexual encounters wherein one party does not have the legal capacity to consent to the encounter. In many cases, a person can be charged with a sex crime even if no physical sexual contact occurs. These non-contact sex crimes typically involve online solicitation of minors, sexting with minors, and lewd or indecent proposals to a child under 16.

The most serious sex crime charge in Oklahoma is first degree rape. First degree rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse or sexual intercourse that occurs under one or more of the following circumstances (21 O.S. § 1114) :

  1. rape committed by a person over eighteen (18) years of age upon a person under fourteen (14) years of age; or

  2. rape committed upon a person incapable through mental illness or any unsoundness of mind of giving legal consent regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or

  3. rape accomplished where the victim is intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent, administered by or with the privity of the accused as a means of forcing the victim to submit; or

  4. rape accomplished where the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act and this fact is known to the accused; or

  5. rape accomplished with any person by means of force, violence, or threats of force or violence accompanied by apparent power of execution regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or

  6. rape by instrumentation resulting in bodily harm is rape by instrumentation in the first degree regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or

  7. rape by instrumentation committed upon a person under fourteen (14) years of age.

In Oklahoma, a person can be criminally charged for spousal rape, or marital rape, if the sexual intercourse with one’s husband or wife is accomplished through the threat or use of force or violence.

Typically, people think of first degree rape as forcible rape or child rape, but the acts specified by the statute show that an act of first degree rape may not be forcible at all, if the victim does not have the capacity to provide or withhold consent. First degree rape is punishable by a maximum sentence of life without parole.

Second degree rape is a lesser charge commonly known as statutory rape. Second degree rape typically applies to situations in which a person willingly participates in sexual intercourse, but he or she is legally unable to provide that consent. Thus, because there is no legal consent, the act is considered “non-consensual,” qualifying it as rape. Often, statutory rape occurs when one participant is too young to legally consent to sex. In Oklahoma, the age of consent is 16, but second degree rape also occurs with a participant over the age of 16 under certain circumstances which preclude consensual sex (21 O.S. § 1111):

  • Where the victim submits to sexual intercourse under the belief that the person committing the act is a spouse, and this belief is induced by artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused or by the accused in collusion with the spouse with intent to induce that belief. In all cases of collusion between the accused and the spouse to accomplish such act, both the spouse and the accused, upon conviction, shall be deemed guilty of rape;

  • Where the victim is under the legal custody or supervision of a state agency, a federal agency, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision and engages in sexual intercourse with a state, federal, county, municipal or political subdivision employee or an employee of a contractor of the state, the federal government, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision that exercises authority over the victim; or

  • Where the victim is at least sixteen (16) years of age and is less than twenty (20) years of age and is a student, or under the legal custody or supervision of any public or private elementary or secondary school, junior high or high school, or public vocational school, and engages in sexual intercourse with a person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and is an employee of the same school system.

Second degree rape is punishable by a sentence ranging from 1 to 15 years in prison.

Both first degree rape and second degree rape are Level III sex offenses. A rape conviction requires the defendant to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life.

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