Oklahoma City Rape Lawyer
Rape is probably the most commonly known sex crime. Although many people believe they understand the legal definition of rape, the laws regarding sexual assault can be complex and highly nuanced. Because a rape conviction, or even the allegation alone, can completely tarnish an individual’s reputation, jeopardize their job and relationships, and result in substantial penalties, it is incredibly important that anyone accused of rape has an experienced Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer by their side.
Oklahoma Laws Defining Rape
Rape occurs when an individual engages in nonconsensual sexual activity. It is important to note that while some instances of rape occur with or under the threat of violence, violence is not required for rape to occur. There are three types of rape charges under Oklahoma law: first degree rape, second degree rape, and rape by instrumentation.
First degree rape is charged for forcible rape, child rape, or any type of nonconsensual sex act with:
- A child under 14 by an adult over 18
- An individual who cannot give consent because of a mental illness or disability
- An individual that is unconscious
- An individual that has been given drugs to make them easy to overpower and control
- An individual that has been threatened with violence
First degree rape is taken incredibly seriously in Oklahoma and was actually punishable by death; however, the Supreme Court found that unconstitutional. While those convicted of first degree rape will no longer face the death penalty after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the fact that this was once a penalty highlights the seriousness with which prosecutors treat rape in Oklahoma. A first degree rape conviction will bring with it a minimum of five years to life in prison. Because first degree rape is considered a violent sex crime, it is subject to the “85% rule.” This means anyone convicted of rape must serve at least 85% of their sentence before they are ever eligible for parole.
Second degree rape, or statutory rape as it is sometimes called, is charged for nonconsensual sexual acts that do not fall under the definition of first degree rape. Second degree rape is often charged when the rape involves an individual under the age of 16 who is unable to give consent because they are a ward of the state. Individuals charged with second degree rape can face between one and 15 years in prison.
Rape by instrumentation occurs when vaginal or anal penetration occurs with a foreign object or body part that does not equal intercourse. If the victim is under the age of 14 or if the act resulted in serious bodily injury, it will be charged as a first degree rape offense.
Consent Under Oklahoma Law
Many people fail to understand when an individual can and can’t give consent. A person suffering from mental illness or mental disabilities cannot give legal consent. Any sexual activity with an individual with mental disabilities is considered rape. Minors cannot legally give consent either. But the most common issue related to consent occurs when the person allegedly giving consent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person may be too intoxicated to give meaningful legal consent, which means any sexual activity can result in rape charges.
Don’t Speak To Anyone Until You Meet With An Attorney
As an Oklahoma City rape law firm, we often see individuals waive their rights and speak with law enforcement officials. Second degree rape is a per se offense which means it is inherently illegal regardless of external circumstances. If you tell law enforcement you engaged in sex but you thought the victim was over the age of consent, this statement equates to an admission of guilt. Many accused feel the need to explain or defend themselves, but this only jeopardize the defense. Only an experienced criminal defense lawyer should communicate with law enforcement about details related to your case.
How Criminal Attorney Taylor McLawhorn Has Helped Clients Charged With Rape
It cannot be overstated how important it is to have experienced legal help by your side when you have been accused of rape. We have helped numerous clients with rape accusations. In one instance, our client was charged with first degree rape, but with Mr. McLawhorn advocating for the client’s rights, the case was dismissed on the day of the client’s preliminary hearing. Another client was under investigation for first degree rape, but had not yet been charged. Mr. McLawhorn took an aggressive approach and opened a dialogue with the investigative agency. After multiple meetings, no charges were filed against the client.
Experienced Oklahoma City Rape Attorney
If you have been accused of any kind of rape, do not wait to contact us today. We can help you protect your rights and determine the best strategy for resolving your case favorably.