Oklahoma takes child sex offenses seriously; there are several laws in the state prohibiting child sexual abuse. Unfortunately, however, not everyone who is charged with these offenses is guilty of actually committing a criminal offense. Because these charges carry life-changing consequences, including a tarnished reputation and significant jail time, it is critical to understand that there are several ways to defend against them, with the help of an experienced Oklahoma child sex abuse attorney.
Oklahoma Prohibited Sex Offenses
There are several child sex abuse laws in Oklahoma under which a person can be charged. Consider the following:
- Oklahoma law prohibits caretakers and anyone else tasked with supervising a child from abusing, exploiting, or neglecting a child in their care. This offense is punished up to a year of imprisonment or fines of up to $5,000. If the child is less than 12 years old, a person convicted under this offense can end up facing a maximum of 25 years in prison.
- Law in Oklahoma prohibits knowing and intentionally engaging in any type of lewd or indecent act with a child under the age of 16 or anyone who is reasonably believed to be below this age. To be charged with this offense, the child must be below the age of 16, and the offender must be at least three years older than the victim. This offense can cause a person to receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and even longer if the victim is under the age of 12.
- It is against the law in Oklahoma to involve a child in pornography. These offenses also result in substantial periods of imprisonment.
- Oklahoma law prohibits transporting a child for prostitution. This is classified as a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Common Defenses to These Charges
Various defenses that can be raised in response to child sex offenses in Oklahoma include:
- Statutes of limitations protect individuals from charges of criminal offenses that occurred so long ago that details about the offense have since become obscured.
- Each sexual offense requires that certain elements be established before a person can be convicted. If even one of these elements cannot be established, a charge will not stand. For example, if there is no evidence of sexual activity or intercourse, a person cannot be convicted of a lewd or indecent act.
- Parents sometimes falsely accuse formers partners of engaging in sex abuse acts with one or more of the couple’s children in the hopes that an advantage can later be gained in family court. It is common for these allegations to occur during both custody and divorce cases.
Speak with an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one is charged with any type of child sex offense in Oklahoma, one of the best and most critical steps to take is to promptly retain the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Tracy Tiernan today to schedule a free case evaluation.