Sex crimes committed by minors are often much different than those committed by adults. While the act itself may be the same, the motivation is often much different. For example, rape committed by an adult is often an act of violence motivated by control. When a child or a teen commits rape, however, it is an act generally fueled by impulsiveness, lack of self control, drugs or alcohol, or even curiosity.
But in the eyes of the law, committing a sex offense is not mitigated by being young and foolish. The implications of a sex crime committed as a juvenile or youthful offender can remain with a child well into adulthood—often for the rest of his or her life.
Finding experienced defense counsel for your child is critical. Prosecutors will treat your child like a seasoned criminal, like a predator, like a violent offender. You know that being in a juvenile detention facility or prison may not be what your child needs. Rather, he or she may need treatment for emotional issues or substance abuse which will give your child the ability to turn his or her life around.
Of course, your child may be a victim himself or herself. Among teenagers, sexual activity can lead to regret—tarnished reputation, angry parents, and cheated dating partners can all be reasons for a person to make up an allegation of rape or sexual assault following a consensual encounter.
After a rape claim or sexual assault accusation, police and prosecutors will assume your child is guilty. They are not looking to exonerate him or her; rather, they are looking to convict. You need someone who is willing to go to bat for your child, to stand toe-to-toe with prosecutors and not back down. At Law Firm of Oklahoma, we are on your side.
In most aspects of the Oklahoma criminal law, anything that is a crime if committed by an adult is a crime if committed by a minor under the age of 18.
When it comes to sex crimes, however, there are a few instances in an act committed by a 16 or 17 year old is not a sex offense.
In Oklahoma, the legal age of consent to sex is 16. No one under the age of 16 may legally consent to sex with anyone over the age of 18. However, state law contains a “close in age” stipulation (21 O.S. § 1112) that prevents anyone aged 18 or younger from being charged with statutory rape for having consensual sex with a 15 year old.
Despite this exclusion, a juvenile may be charged with any sex offense, including rape, rape by instrumentation, attempted rape, lewd molestation, and forcible oral sodomy.
Forcible rape, rape of a person whose mental illness or disability prevents him or her from providing legal consent, and rape by instrumentation that results in serious injury are acts of rape that are charged as first degree rape.
Juvenile rape charges are often filed after an intoxicated victim is sexually assaulted. When a rape charge follows a night of drinking or drugs, your attorney can carefully investigate the incident to determine whether the accuser was truly unconscious of the nature of the act or whether he or she denied giving consent in an attempt to save face.
When a minor is accused of a crime, he or she may be tried in either juvenile court or district court. This typically depends upon the severity of the offense. If a minor’s case is handed in the juvenile court system, he or she would not receive a conviction if found guilty, but rather be adjudicated delinquent. As a juvenile delinquent, any time served would be in a juvenile detention facility, and the minor would be released around the time of his or her 18th birthday, if not before.
However, some crimes are considered to be more serious, and for those, a finding of delinquency seems too light a penalty. In Oklahoma minors are only tried as adults if they are charged with first degree murder. Being charged as a youthful offender serves as a compromise between juvenile charges for nonviolent misdemeanors and adult charges for first degree murder.
When a youthful offender turns 18, he or she is not released from custody, as is a juvenile delinquent. Rather, the youthful offender is transferred to the state penitentiary to serve the remainder of his or her term in prison.
Sex crimes which result in a 15*, 16, or 17-year-old being charged as a youthful offender include the following:
Whether your child will be charged as a juvenile or a youthful offender is an important determination of what type of sentence, if any, he or she will receive. An attorney can work to certify a minor as a juvenile rather than a youthful offender, and your child’s lawyer should be dedicated to protecting your child from unnecessary conviction and sentencing.
A rash, impulsive, angry, or drunken act can have lifelong repercussions for your child. Do not let your child be branded as a sex offender. Call (405) 608-4990 to talk to an attorney about what to expect and how we can help protect your child’s future.