Oklahoma law forbids engaging in sexual activity with anyone under the age of 16, and while sex with a minor is considered either statutory rape or first degree rape, depending on the age and apparent consent of the victim, even simply asking a minor to engage in sexual activity is a sex offense.
Soliciting Sexual Conduct or Communication with Minor by use of Technology (21 O.S. 1040.13a) is a felony sex offense that carries the possibility of 10 years in prison and requires sex offender registration upon completion of one's sentence. However, this offense is often charged in conjunction with Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to a Child under 16, a crime which carries a sentence of 3 to 20 years in prison; if the victim is under the age of 12, the sentence is 25 years to life.
Many cases of online solicitation of a minor are prosecuted in the Oklahoma state courts, but it may also be charged as a federal sex crime. The penalties for violating federal law include 10 years to life in prison for soliciting a minor under the age of 18.
Regardless of whether or not a person actually meets or attempts to meet the minor for sex is irrelevant for the purpose of the solicitation charge or indecent proposals charge. The mere act of requesting sexual conduct from a minor is a felony sex crime in and of itself.
If you are accused of soliciting a minor online, you may feel as if you have already been convicted in the court of public opinion. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and even your own friends and family may assume your guilt. During this challenging time, having someone on your side can give you tremendous peace of mind. Act quickly to secure effective legal representation to start building your defense and to guard against infringement of your constitutional rights as a defendant.
At the Law Firm of Oklahoma, we have an established and proven record of providing successful outcomes to clients charged with sex crimes in Oklahoma and federal courts.
Solicitation of a minor is governed primarily by three Oklahoma statutes:
Section 1040.13a deals specifically with soliciting minors online and through other electronic and digital devices. The statute begins:
"It is unlawful for any person to facilitate, encourage, offer or solicit sexual conduct with a minor, or other individual the person believes to be a minor, by use of any technology, or to engage in any communication for sexual or prurient interest with any minor, or other individual the person believes to be a minor, by use of any technology."
The technology addressed in this section includes not only computer and internet, but also mobile technology, cell phones, text messages, and even storage devices including CD-ROM, VHS cassettes, CD, DVD, or "any other device capable of any transmission of any written or text message, audio or sound message, photographic, video, movie, digital or computer-generated image, or any other communication of any kind by use of an electronic device."
Conviction of soliciting minors via technology carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and sex offender registration for 25 years upon completion of the sentence. However, this penalty is typically in addition to conviction of other related crimes, such as Lewd or Indecent Proposals to a Child under 16.
Lewd or Indecent Proposals to a Minor makes it a felony to "knowingly and intentionally" make any proposal to a child under 16 or a person the defendant believes to be a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity. Conviction of this offense carries a sentence of 3 to 20 years in prison, unless the child is under the age of 12 when such a proposal is made. In that case, the minimum sentence is 25 years. Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to a Child under 16 is a Level 3 sex offense, requiring lifetime sex offender registration.
Both of the aforementioned statutes include solicitation of a person the defendant believes to be a minor. Because of this stipulation, a person cannot use legal impossibility as a defense if he or she is arrested following an internet sting in which he or she solicits a decoy rather than an actual minor child. "Legal impossibility" would mean that the defendant could not be charged with soliciting a minor, because he or she had no online contact with a minor - only with an adult law enforcement agent pretending to be a child.
Finally, the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act makes it a felony to use a computer or computer network to violate any state law. Violation of the Computer Crimes Act is punishable by 10 years in prison in addition to the penalties for the underlying crime.
The penalties for soliciting minors in Oklahoma are no laughing matter, but federal law against soliciting minors online is even more severe:
"Using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce to entice or coerce someone younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual activity is a crime punishable by fine and not less than 10 years imprisonment or life." 18 U.S.C. 2422(b)
While Oklahoma forbids soliciting anyone under the age of 16 for sex, federal law forbids soliciting a minor under the age of 18. The penalties include 10 years to life in prison.
In an attempt to prevent internet predators from soliciting and enticing minors for sexual conduct, the United States government has enacted a number of laws and acts intended to stop the online sexual exploitation of children. Visit the links below to learn more about these laws.
Violation of federal law is often charged based upon the investigation of skilled and specialized agencies and task forces established under the FBI and the United States Department of Justice.
While it may seem that the evidence is stacked against you, there are still options for a successful defense. Contact an attorney with the Law Firm of Oklahoma to explore which avenues of defense may be available to you and which may prove effective in your specific case. Schedule a free, confidential consultation by submitting the online case review form on this page, or call (405) 608-4990 to schedule an appointment.