If you have been accused of statutory rape by the parents of a woman you have been seeing, you may be feeling scared, confused, and not sure where to turn to find answers. Below, we’ll take you through a few basics regarding statutory rape law that you will want to keep in mind as you deal with this type of situation.
Statutory Rape is a Crime Even Where There is Consent
Generally, to be convicted of the crime of rape, the prosecutor is required to show that there was no consent to the sexual act by the other person. This is not so with statutory rape. Statutory rape laws say that people under the “age of consent” in a given jurisdiction cannot legally consent to a sexual act, so even if the other person “consented” and even initiated the sexual act, you still may be guilty of statutory rape. Furthermore, even if the other person lied about their age and claimed to be over the age of consent, you can still be found guilty.
Statutory Rape Laws are Based on Your State’s Law
Although there are federal laws related to sex crimes involving minors, most statutory rape crimes are based on state law. What this means is that you need to look at your own state’s laws to determine whether there was a crime and not the law of another state.
In Oklahoma, the age of consent is 16 years old. That said, if the victim was 14 or 15 years old, then a defendant cannot be convicted of statutory rape unless he or she was 18 years or older at the time of the alleged act. The age of consent is higher than 16 if the victim was a student and the defendant was an employee of the victim’s school system or a foster parent or foster parent applicant.
There is No Such Thing as Your Girlfriend or Parents “Pressing Charges”
You have probably heard of the phrase “pressing charges” from television and movies, but this is one of the most common misunderstandings in criminal law. Your girlfriend or her parents do not have the right to “press charges” or not press charges. Only a prosecutor can bring charges against you, and that prosecutor can bring charges regardless of whether your girlfriend or her parents want you to stand trial or not.
All Crimes Must Be Proved Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
It is key to remember, however, that a prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of statutory rape. The key element of statutory rape is that you and the alleged victim had sexual relations, so the prosecutor will need to prove that this was the case to the jury.
Most Anyone You Talked to Can Be Subpoenaed to Testify Against You
If you talk to various individuals about what happened or did not happen between you and your girlfriend, then those people can be called to give sworn testimony about what you said, unless they have a legal privilege not to testify. Your parents, family members, and friends do not have a privilege, so they can all be forced to testify. But what you say to your lawyer about what happened in the past is protected by the attorney-client privilege, and so anything you say about the events you are being accused of can be kept confidential between you and your attorney.
Legal Representation in Your Oklahoma Statutory Rape Prosecution
A conviction for statutory rape can result in prison time and you will have to register with a state sex offender registry, which can follow you and affect your reputation and career for many years. It is important that you get the best criminal defense you can find to help you navigate the criminal process and protect yourself.
Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney Patrick Quillian is a former Oklahoma district attorney who relies on his years of experience in prosecuting cases to provide the best possible defense for all defendants being investigated or charged with statutory rape. Contact the office of J. Patrick Quillian, Attorney at Law, today at 405-418-8888 to schedule a free consultation to see what his criminal defense team can do for you.