Sexting in Oklahoma can Lead to Criminal Penalties

Tracy Tiernan - October 7, 2019 - Criminal Defense

As technology develops, some activities that once seemed novel are becoming commonplace. Sexting might not seem like a big deal and it occurs at a substantial rate among teens, but the act can result in serious criminal penalties. Sexting refers to sharing sexually explicit images or messages through web-communication devices. While Oklahoma has not yet categorized sexting as a criminal offense, the activity has the potential to result in criminal penalties. For example, if a recipient of sexual messages is a minor, the sender can end up facing strict obscenity charges. All adults and teens in Oklahoma understand some of the important issues involved with sexting in Oklahoma.

Minors and Sexual Imagery in Oklahoma

Oklahoma law, as well as federal law, make the transmission of sexual images of minors who are younger than 18 a criminal offense. Additionally, a person in Oklahoma is considered able to consent to sex at the age of 16. This means that while a person is of an age to consent to sexual intercourse at the age of 16, they are not able to engage in the transmission of sexualized imagery depicting minors the age of 18. Individuals who are charged with making, possessing, or distributing imagery depicting minors in Oklahoma can be charged in either federal or state court.

Strict Penalties in Oklahoma for Sexting

People in Oklahoma law who are convicted of sexting with minors will almost certainly end up facing serious penalties. A person who is below the age of 18 who is discovered to have transmitted child porn of another minor who is 13 or older through an electronic device can be convicted of a misdemeanor, which results in fines of up to $500 for first-time offenders. A person can still be convicted of this offense if the depicted subject provided consent.

A Person’s Role as Sender vs. Recipient

What makes Oklahoma sexting law unique is that the illegality of the offense does not change on whether the person sending the image is the sender or recipient. This means that a minor who receives sexually explicit images can also face serious charges. Fortunately, several defenses can be raised in response to these charges. For example, a minor may have not consented to receiving the imagery and did not print, share, or distribute the image to anyone else but law enforcement. 

Classification as a Sexual Offender

A minor is found guilty of sexting is at risk of being convicted as a sex offender, which will create obstacles for the convicted party for the rest of his or her life. Some of the challenges sex offenders experience include trouble getting a job, limitations on where they can live, and a negative reputation in the surrounding community. 

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being charged with sexting in Oklahoma carries serious implications. Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help those accused fight for the best possible results. Contact skilled criminal defense lawyer Tracy Tiernan today. 

(image courtesy of Rodion Kutsaev)