Sexual offenses and dating among young people have been on the rise. It has led to severe problems like teenage pregnancies, sexual misconduct and violence. To tame such, states across the United States have passed dating and sex laws that aim to punish sexual offenses. Oklahoma State has also done its part on enacting sexual and dating laws. The state recently adopted the new J.W Act of 2016 dating laws with added provisions.
Below are a few things you should be conversant with about the dating laws in Oklahoma. Click here to learn more.
1. Stipulated Age Of Consent
Oklahoma has passed the age of consent law when it comes to sexual offenses. The state’s law has capped the age of consent at 16 years. What this means is that having any form of sexual relations with a minor below 16 years is regarded as a crime. According to the law, the offense is classified as statutory rape. It deems minors below 15 years as not being in a position to legally consent to sexual advances.
For instance, a 21-year-old woman having any sexual relations with a 13-year-old boy will be charged for having committed statutory rape. Note, Statutory Rape is considered a liability crime under Oklahoma’s dating laws.
Additionally, sexual law applies to same-sex sexual acts. As a result, an 18-year-old boy having sexual relations with a 15-year-old boy is punishable as per the state’s dating laws.
2. Sexual Abuse Attracts Severe Punishment
As per Oklahoma’s dating laws, statutory rape attracts severe punishment. Oklahoma has four statutory sexual abuse charges that are used to prosecute related sexual age of consent sexual crimes. Forcible sodomy, first-degree rape, sexual battery and indecent proposals or acts upon a child under 16 are the four sexual abuse charges under the state’s laws. More often than not, the sexual crimes will attract between 1 to 20 years in prison depending on the severity of the case.
3. Exception Clause for Minor Offenders
Though the law prohibits sexual activities with minors below 16 years, there is a clause exempting children below 16 years who are found guilty of the offense. By law, they are exempted from punishment if they are of close age. For example, a 13-year-old girl who has sexual relations with a 14-year-old boy will not be found guilty of the offense. This law is known as the Romeo and Juliet Law.
4. The Law Focuses on Sexual Offenses
Oklahoma’s dating laws do not have a clause stipulating the legal dating age. The law only has a strict focus on sexual acts performed while dating. So, what it means is that it is allowed for a 15-year-old to date an 18-year-old, but they will be guilty of sexual offenses if they go further to engage in prohibited sexual acts as guided by the law.
5. Consult a Legal Defense Lawyer for Clarification
Whether you are a victim or a suspect, understanding the intricate issues on Oklahoma dating laws can be difficult. Therefore consulting an experienced lawyer will be imperative.
For instance, if you are suspected to be involved in a sexual crime involving a minor below 16 years, you can hire a defense team or the state can provide you with one if you cannot afford. After that, the defense lawyer will be in a position to advise you on the proper course of action and assess any valid defenses that will help exonerate you.
Remember, even if you are not on the wrong, it would be prudent to consult a lawyer still to get an in-depth understanding of how the law works before entering in a relationship. Also, should you be a victim or you know someone who is, urgently report the case to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network for immediate assistance.