In Oklahoma can someone be convicted of rape with a person who they had consensual sex with before?

Rape is a serious offense with substantial legal repercussions. Nevertheless, rape is defined differently depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of the case. 

When the accused has previously had consensual sexual contact with the victim, Oklahoma’s rape laws can be complicated. In this blog, our Oklahoma City sex crime defense attorneys at Jacqui Ford Law will look at the legal ramifications of a rape case where the accused had previously engaged in consensual sexual contact with the victim.

What is Rape in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, rape is defined as the non-consensual sexual intercourse of a person through the use of force, fear, or intimidation

This includes situations where a person is unable to give their consent, such as when they are unconscious, mentally incapacitated, or below the age of consent.

Can Someone Be Convicted of Rape If They Had Consensual Sex in the Past with the Victim?

The short answer is yes. A person can be convicted of rape even if they have engaged in consensual sexual activity with the victim in the past. 

The key factor in determining whether a rape has taken place is whether the sexual contact was consensual at the time it occurred.

If the victim consented to the sexual activity in the past but did not consent at the time of the alleged rape, the accused can be convicted of rape. This is because consent must be given freely and voluntarily for each individual sexual encounter. Simply because two people have engaged in consensual sexual activity in the past does not mean that consent is automatically given for future sexual encounters.

What are the Penalties for Rape in Oklahoma?

The penalties for rape in Oklahoma are severe and can result in long-term consequences for the accused. 

  • Rape is considered a first-degree felony, which carries a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. 
  • Additionally, those convicted of rape may be required to register as sex offenders.
  • Outside of traditional punishment, people convicted of rape often face other consequences, such as loss of employment and potential damage to relationships, whether personal or professional.

Can a Rape Charge be Defended in Court?

Yes, a rape charge can be defended in court. 

The defense will typically focus on the issue of consent and whether the sexual contact was truly non-consensual. This may involve presenting evidence of the previous consensual sexual activity between the accused and the victim, as well as any other relevant circumstances, such as the presence of force, fear, or intimidation.

It is important to note that the burden of proof in a rape case is on the prosecution. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the sexual contact was non-consensual and that the accused used force, fear, or intimidation to obtain it.

Contact Jacqui Ford Law for Experienced Defense

In Oklahoma, a person can be convicted of rape even if they have engaged in consensual sexual activity with the victim in the past. Consent must be given freely and voluntarily for each individual sexual encounter, and the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the sexual contact was non-consensual and obtained through duress.

If you are facing a rape charge in Oklahoma, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced sex crime defense attorney who can help you understand the charges against you and defend your rights in court. An experienced, local attorney like the team at Jacqui Ford Law can help you present the strongest defense possible, giving you the best chance at preserving your freedom. Contact us today.

Can You Be Charged with Rape if You Had Consent? Understanding Oklahoma Sexual Assault Laws

Sexual assault is a serious crime that carries severe consequences, including imprisonment, fines, and a tarnished reputation. 

However, many people do not understand the intricacies of sexual assault laws and how consent plays a role in determining guilt. In this article, our Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys at Jacqui Ford Law will examine the definition of rape and the various factors that influence whether someone can be charged with this crime – even if they had consent.

Understanding Rape and Sexual Assault in Oklahoma

Rape in Oklahoma law is defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse, either by force, threat, or intimidation. 

This means that if a person engages in sexual activity with another person who is unable to give consent, they can be charged with rape. This can include instances where the victim is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol or is unconscious.

Sexual assault, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses any form of non-consensual sexual contact, including rape as well as sexual battery and molestation. In some states, sexual assault may also include unwanted touching or sexual advances.

The Role of Consent in Sexual Assault Cases

Sexual action must be freely and passionately consented to by all partners to be deemed consensual. This indicates that sexual activity is not deemed consenting if a person is forced, threatened, or intimidated into doing so.

Every time sexual activity occurs, consent must be obtained. This means that even if a person has previously consented to sexual activity, it does not entail that their partner may do so in the future without first getting their consent.

It is also important to note that consent cannot be obtained from someone unable to give it, such as an unconscious person, incapacitated, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In these instances, the person who engages in sexual activity with them can be charged with rape or sexual assault.

Unfortunately, even if someone gives their consent, they may still be able to accuse their sexual partner of rape or sexual assault

How Can Someone Be Charged with Rape Despite Having Consent?

While consent is a critical factor in determining whether someone can be charged with rape or sexual assault, other factors can also come into play.

These can include:

  • The age of the parties involved: In many areas, minors are not considered capable of giving consent to sexual activity, even if they agreed to it. This means that if an adult participates in sexual acts with a minor, they can face charges of statutory rape, even if the minor consented.
  • The mental capacity of the parties involved: If one of the parties involved has a mental disability or illness that impairs their overall ability to give informed consent, they cannot be held responsible for engaging in sexual activity. In these instances, the person who engaged in sexual activity with them can be charged with rape or sexual assault.
  • The use of drugs or alcohol: If one of the parties involved is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is unable to give informed consent, they cannot be held responsible for engaging in sexual activity. In these instances, the person who engaged in sexual activity with them can be charged with rape or sexual assault.

Contact an Oklahoma Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Today

Before participating in any sexual activity, it is crucial to get explicit consent. This entails taking the time to comprehend and respect your partner’s preferences, as well as being aware of the things that can make it difficult for them to give informed permission.

You can better comprehend the accusations made against you, the evidence that will be presented in court, and any potential defenses by working with an experienced Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer like our team at Jacqui Ford Law. You can safeguard your rights, secure your future, and guarantee that the court hears your side of the story, with solid legal representation. Contact our firm today to get started on your defense.

What To Do If You Have Been Falsely Accused Of Rape In Oklahoma

Rape is no light matter, but false rape accusations are unfortunately more common than you might think. 

These false cases are particularly common in sexual assault cases involving minors, who may have been manipulated by an adult into thinking they experienced sexual violence.

If you have experienced false rape accusations in Oklahoma, you must waste no time in setting up a defense for yourself. At Jacqui Ford Law, our Oklahoma City-based criminal defense attorneys are ready to work with you for justice after being falsely accused of rape.

Why Do I Need A Criminal Defense Attorney for a Rape Case?

Oklahoma law defines rape as an act of sexual intercourse under any of the following circumstances:

  • The victim is less than 16 years old
  • The victim is incapable of giving legal consent 
  • Force or violence is used 
  • The victim is unconscious
  • The victim engages in sexual intercourse with an employee of a government organization that exercises control over the victim
  • The victim is a student and engages in sexual intercourse with an offender who is an employee of the same school system

According to Oklahoma law, rape can also occur between spouses. 

When somebody has falsely accused you of rape in Oklahoma, your first action must be to consult a trusted defense attorney to help build your defense case. 

Rape cases are a serious matter, and you will need an experienced team of defense attorneys at your back to fight these allegations and ensure you don’t face consequences for something you didn’t do.

If convicted of rape in the first degree, you could face imprisonment, life without parole, or even the death penalty. Second-degree rape is also a felony punishable by imprisonment for between one and 15 years.

At Jacqui Ford Law, we have the necessary experience to keep you from facing the severe repercussions of false rape allegations. Do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation today.

Trust The Truth

The Oklahoma court treats sex crime cases with the gravity they deserve – and this includes a false rape charge, as a judge will want to be as thorough as possible in any rape case.

Ultimately, you must trust that the truth will come out. In many false rape accusations, the court will drop a case due to a lack of evidence, but in some cases, it may go to trial.

In these scenarios, you must not lose hope. Your defense team will work to prove your innocence, but it may take some time. Remember that each case must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

Exercise Your Right To Remain Silent

If you are arrested on false rape charges, you must exercise your right to remain silent. 

This right is a vital part of the justice system, and even if you want to inform the arresting officers of your innocence by recounting events, they can try to twist your words to suit them in court.

Additionally, it’s not a good idea to try to contact the person who accused you of rape, or anyone in their social circle. Even if you just want to discuss what happened, this can lead to serious problems for your case.

In any case, but especially cases as serious as a false rape accusation, remember to keep silent and demand to speak to your lawyer.

Consider Filing A Civil Lawsuit

After your false rape accusation case is settled, you may want to file a civil suit against whoever falsely accused you. This lawsuit can recoup financial costs for damages to your life, relationships, and career.

If you wish to file a civil suit, you must wait until after the legal matter of your rape charge is settled; under Oklahoma law, you cannot file a civil suit for a case until the case has concluded.

With a victory, the court may require your accuser to pay you a sum for the distress that they have caused.

Contact Jacqui Ford Law Today

There are many reasons somebody may make a false rape allegation, but no matter what they claim, Jacqui Ford Law is ready to help you clear your name and prove your innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.

To help build your defense against these serious allegations, schedule a free consultation with us today.

What are Considered Sex Crimes in Oklahoma?

Sex crimes in Oklahoma are treated with the utmost seriousness. 

If you are found guilty of a sex crime, you will face imprisonment, fines, and a damaged reputation. You will have to register as sex offender for the remainder of your life, which limits where you can live and work.

Sex crimes charges necessitate the immediate assistance of a talented and experienced sex crimes defense attorney. However, the average person does not know what, exactly, constitutes a sex crime in Oklahoma. From our sex crimes defense attorneys at Jacqui Ford Law, here is an inside look at the acts our state considers to be sex crimes.

Different Types of Sex Crimes in Oklahoma

There is a common misconception that rape is the sole sex crime on the books in Oklahoma and beyond. 

In reality, there are numerous sex crimes punishable by Oklahoma and federal law. Aside from rape and sexual assault, other sex crimes include:

  • Engaging in the act of prostitution
  • Soliciting a prostitute
  • Child molestation
  • Indecent exposure
  • The possession, making, or distribution of child pornography   

For the most part, the vast majority of Oklahoma sex crimes are serious felonies that have the potential to spur significant fines and a multi-year prison sentence.  However, it is possible for some of the charges detailed above, such as prostitution, to be charged as a misdemeanor.

It is also important to note internet sex crimes are also punished quite severely in Oklahoma. Everything from soliciting a minor for sex or nude images on the web to sexting and making an indecent or lewd proposal to a minor over the web qualify as internet sex crimes punishable by law.

Teen Sex Crimes in the State of Oklahoma 

Oklahoma law rarely distinguishes between sex crimes committed by minors and adults aged 18 or older. 

For the most part, if the act in question is illegal for an adult, it is also illegal for a minor.

However, there are some exceptions. As an example, statutory rape exceptions exist. The age of sexual consent in the state of Oklahoma is 16.

Consider a situation in which an adult over the age of 18 agrees to have sex with an individual who is 14 years old and has not yet reached the age required for legal consent. Such an adult will be charged with statutory rape, also known as second-degree rape.  Oklahoma state law precludes the filing of rape charges against an individual 18 years of age or younger who engages in consensual sex with an individual over the age of 14, however.

It is important to note some acts of rape are classified as first-degree rape independent of the aggressor’s age. 

As an example, first-degree rape charges in Oklahoma are applied in instances of forcible rape, rape performed with instrumentation that causes significant bodily harm, and rape of an individual incapable of providing his or her legal consent due to an unsound mind or mental illness. 

Aside from first-degree rape, additional sex offense charges a juvenile can face include:

  • Forcible sodomy
  • Lewd molestation
  • Rape by instrumentation
  • Attempted rape
  • Second-degree rape
  • Child rape
  • Rape of a minor younger than the age of 14

Felony vs. Misdemeanor Sex Crime Charges

Most Oklahoma sex crimes are prosecuted as felonies and spur mandatory sex offender registration after conviction. 

Prostitution and public indecency are the exception and are commonly charged as misdemeanors. However, sexual assault, rape, and all sex crimes against children are charged as felonies. 

These felonies are punishable by years in prison or even life in prison and lifelong sex offender registration. If you or your child are labeled as a sex offender, life will become incredibly difficult in a number of regards. Sex offender status limits your career opportunities, as well as your ability to live in a specific part of town.

Jacqui Ford Law Sex Crime Defense Attorneys are Here to Help 

If you or your teen have been charged with a sex crime, you should know the stakes are high. Let us review the details of your particular case and build a custom-tailored legal defense. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.


Spousal rape laws in Oklahoma

Sex Crime Attorney In Oklahoma City

Being accused of a sex crime in the state of Oklahoma is serious, with far-reaching consequences to your personal and professional life.

But sex crimes allegations also have some extra kinds of concerns that most other cases don’t have. Here, we discuss those issues and what to do if you are accused of a sex crime.

This blog post originally comes from a conversation on our Your Best Defense blog. To listen to the original podcast, click here.

Do not talk to the police

The first, and most important, piece of advice that I have to give you, is this: Do not talk to the law enforcement.

Most times when people are charged, our natural inclination, especially if we’re innocent, is to defend ourselves.

But it is really imperative that you understand that law enforcement are not your friends. They are not asking you questions in order to clear you of these allegations. They are trained to take your words out of context, and use them against you in the future. So, the first and most important thing is, stop talking to the police.

Who can I talk to?

A lot of times, especially if we are falsely accused, we want to talk to people about it. And we go to our safe places. We talk to our counselor or our psychiatrist, some of us share this information with our preacher, or our friends in the church community. Maybe you know someone at the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS is the one who’s come to you with these kinds of allegations, and they just want to hear your side of the story.

You cannot talk to these folks. You can’t talk to your primary physician. You can’t talk to anybody. You really can’t even talk to your wife, your mother, your father, or your kids.

And this is why: in Oklahoma, these people are deemed mandatory reporters. All of these people (primary physicians, doctors at the emergency room, your spouse, your counselors, and your preacher) have a kind of fundamental confidentiality with you and work to protect our communities.

But in Oklahoma, these people are called mandatory reporters, which means if they hear that there’s an allegation, or they have a suspicion, that a child has been the victim of any kind of physical abuse or sexual abuse they are obligated under law to report you.

And their failure to do so will put them at risk of being charged criminally.

(Sometimes the law will provide a spousal exception.)

So, all of the places that we generally go to as a safe place are no longer safe when we’re being accused of a crime against children or a crime involving sex. With that said, who can you talk to?

You have to find a lawyer.

The attorney-client privilege is sacred, and we are not mandatory reporters. You can come into my office and admit that you did every single thing that they said that you did, and I cannot report that. And I will not report it. My ethical obligations as an attorney prohibit me violating that confidence.

Choosing a sex crimes attorney

So, how do you figure out who to talk to?

You don’t want to talk to just any lawyer. You want to find the lawyer that has experience in sex crimes cases. You have to find an Oklahoma City sex crimes defense lawyer. How do you know if they’re sex crimes defense lawyers?

Well, we’re not allowed to “specialize.” I can’t put on my website, or on my business card, or on a billboard, that I “specialize” in sex crimes, that I “specialize” in defending folks accused of crimes against children, or crimes involving sexual acts. Again, my ethical obligations prohibit me from doing that.

So how do you figure out whether or not the person you’re talking to is experienced and qualified to handle these kinds of allegations?

You have a duty and an obligation to yourself to interview those lawyers. The lawyer that you choose is as important to you in this matter as the doctor you would choose if you had a brain tumor.

You are quite literally putting your life in their hands. It is their honor to represent you. You should not be honored to have them represent you. That’s not how this works.

So, take advantage of your free consultation. Most lawyers offer them. I certainly do. Come in and interview me. Ask me about my experience. Ask me how many cases I’ve taken like this to trial. Ask me if I have to go to trial in these cases.

I’m going to tell you as an experienced criminal defense lawyer who does a lot of work dealing in sex crimes: these cases don’t have to go to trial. We have a lot of tools at our disposal that we can help you through this process. And each case is so fact-specific that you really have to get in and talk with me — and you have to do it sooner, rather than later.

Getting started is the hardest part

If you know you’re being accused you cannot let fear, shame, or embarrassment stop you from picking up the phone. With most of my clients charged in these things, they are falsely accused. And they report to us that picking up the phone and asking for help in this regard was one of the hardest things they ever had to do. And I understand that. It’s embarrassing. Even if we did nothing wrong, our reputation has been damaged in the community, and we are afraid that people are judging us.

What you’ll find here is that you walk into this door with no judgment.

You will not be judged. You will not be shamed. You will not be made to be in fear of what’s going to happen. You’re going to walk into this door and be welcomed by me and my staff, who are equipped and experienced in dealing with these kinds of cases.

We understand the emotional turmoil that it puts on you, and you families, and your employers, and the people in your community. This does not just affect the accused. It is a wide-reaching, damaging accusation, and you have to have people who are prepared to defend you, not just in a courtroom, but with those other people in your lives.

Sex crimes cases are different from other cases

We know how to do that because we know that these accusations are very different from any other kind of accusation:

  • It’s not like you’ve been accused of DUI — a lot of people get DUIs.
  • Most people know somebody who’s been through the criminal justice system on a simple possession of marijuana charge.
  • Even a domestic violence charge, where someone got into a scuffle at home.

These cases are very, very different. And you have to go somewhere where they understand the nuances of what’s going on in sex crimes litigation.

Every district attorney’s office has lawyers that are skilled and trained to prosecute sex crimes, specifically.

In Oklahoma County they have an entire division of their district attorney’s office dedicated to what they call the Special Victims Unit. We know that society looks at these cases differently (especially thanks to shows like Law & Order).

And it’s true — these cases are different from other cases. That’s why you have to interview the lawyers to find out in a position to trust them to take your life and your family’s life future in their hands.

Next step: honesty

Once you find that criminal defense lawyer, and you’ve hired them, the most important advice I can give to you is that you must be brutally honest.

Many times we want to defend ourselves, or withhold information because we think it makes us look bad. We don’t want to acknowledge our own wrongdoings.But it’s important when you sit down with me, and I ask you, “What happened?” that your honesty is unmatched to anywhere else you’ve ever been.

And I know that kind of goes against most of what we’ve learned. Most of the time defense lawyers tell you to shut your mouth. “We don’t want to hear the details. The details will make it harder for us to defend you.”

In sex crimes cases, the devil is in the details. The only way you will be freed from these allegations, and not have the stigma riding with you for the rest of your life, is if you are brutally honest with me.

It’s important because it’s the only way I have to defend you. If we start building a defense based upon on a lack of truthfulness, or not having the whole story, that can really blow up in our face quicker in a sex crimes case than anywhere else.

Remembering that the confidentiality that you have with an attorney is sacred. We’ve engaged in an oath to the Oklahoma Bar Association that says if we violate that confidentiality, they can take away my license to practice law.

I will not ever violate that privilege. Any information that is shared within this office can only be repeated with your permission.

So, you will be instrumental in building your own defense. Therefore, we have to start out this process open, and honest, and with a free-line of communication. It’s the only way that we can really help you.

Holding back from me is only going to hurt you in the future.

To review…

So, the first thing you have to know is stop talking. Do not engage in any interview with anyone that is asking you questions that sound like you’re being investigated.

You ask whoever’s asking you, “Am I a suspect? Am I free to leave?” And if the answer is, “You’re free to leave,” then you kindly thank them for their time, and you exit the room.

Many people believe that only guilty people ask to talk to a lawyer. This is what the cops want you to believe because they don’t want you to ask for a lawyer.

The first thing I will do as your attorney is stop the interrogation. No further questions of my client. And if you’re not under arrest, we’re leaving – you’re walking out with me.

If and when we decide it is in your best interest to engage in an interview with law enforcement, or DHS, or anyone else, we will record that interview ourselves so that we cannot ever be faced with your words being taken out of context or being presented to a jury of your peers, twisted and misunderstood.

You have to give us the opportunity to make the decision to engage with law enforcement together. It is a strategic decision, and it must be made with the advice of counsel.

These cases are different than any other cases because law enforcement and those involved in the investigatory process are trained to believe the accuser.

The accuser will be forced to tell their story over and over and over again, but not once will they ever be challenged until they’re sitting in a courtroom being cross-examined. Law enforcement won’t start picking apart the accuser’s stories, but they will do that to you. They are trained to believe the accuser at all costs.

And if they start their investigation believing that you are guilty, then nothing you say can get you out of that presumption.

You have to leave it to the professionals to do that for you.

Contact Jacqui Ford Law Firm

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent until you’ve engaged with a qualified Oklahoma City sex crimes defense lawyer.

That is the only way you can protect yourself, and the best way to have a chance of ever walking away from this situation a free person. Contact Jacqui Ford Law Firm today to see how we can help.

Defending Sex Crimes in Oklahoma

If you’ve been accused of rape, most people think you only have one of two defenses. Number one: “it wasn’t me.” Or, two: “it wasn’t rape.”

Quite frankly, these defenses don’t quite work the way you think they will.

We’re here to discuss the situation of sex crime laws in Oklahoma and what some defenses can really look like in practice.

This discussion was originally featured on Your Best Defense podcast during series about defending sex crimes in Oklahoma.

Defense #1: “It Wasn’t Me”

In 2016, with the technological advances that we have, the defense of “It wasn’t me” is almost obsolete.

Law enforcement has abilities to identify the offender better now than they ever could before. It’s also very uncommon that rape allegations come from a “stranger.”

More times than you would imagine, these allegations come based upon someone that you were somehow affiliated with socially, or friends or family. Oftentimes, they are, in fact, from the people that we love the most – our children, our girlfriends, our friends, etc.

We’re not going to spend a whole of time on the defense of “it wasn’t me” for those reasons. We can use DNA tests most of the time. Those aren’t the cases that generally get litigated.

Defense #2: “I’m falsely accused”

Instead, the case we see 9 times out of 10 is, “I’m falsely accused.” And if you’re falsely accused, how do you defend yourself?

The problem with these cases is the allegation tends to be something that takes place in private. Prosecutors oftentimes preach to jurors that it’s hard for them to prove these cases because rape is a private act that happens in the dark corners of society.

But what if you’re falsely accused of rape? Although rape is oftentimes been described as one of the most underreported crimes, I’m here to tell you it is one of the most falsely reported crimes. And it’s incredibly hard to defend because we’re dealing with a “he said/she said” scenario.

Most of the time, even in false allegations, the accuser isn’t saying this happened in a room full of people with a bunch of witnesses. So, now it’s just a matter of what the accuser said versus what you can prove.

And this causes a lot of problems in defending these cases.

So how do we handle these cases?

Keeping you off the stand

First, you have a right to remain silent. You are not compelled to take the stand in your own defense. It is my belief that if we can avoid a criminal defendant mounting the stand, we should do so at all costs. There is nothing more uncomfortable than sitting in a witness chair and being subjected to cross examination, and it’s a dangerous place for a defendant to sit. If I can avoid you from having to take that stand to defend yourself, that’s going to be my goal.

Defending your innocence

In this country we have this idea that you are innocent until proven guilty.

Although, I think that is not a reality in practice. When it comes to sex crimes defenses, it’s even less of a reality. A person accused of rape, or child molestation, or anything sounding in sexual abuse starts the game way far behind the starting line. People are not generally inclined to give that person the benefit of the doubt.

Sex is very taboo in this country. It’s even more taboo in Oklahoma. We reside in the Bible Belt. So, to talk about it openly and freely in a room full of strangers is almost impossible. Lawyers struggle with talking to jurors about these things.

But you and I have to talk about it when we’re defending you if you’ve been accused of such a horrid crime. You have to understand that you do not sit there and bear the presumption of innocence. It’s very unlikely that anyone is going to be willing to help you, or let you off the hook.

Although the law doesn’t say you have to prove yourself innocent, in practice, we’re pretty much riddled with that burden. We have to present evidence to the jury that will make them disbelieve the accuser.

The Role of Your Defense Attorney

Our job as your defense attorney includes:

  • Understanding your version of events
  • Figuring out where the truth lies
  • Discovering why this accuser would lie about you.
  • Presenting that story to the jury so they can not only allow you to go home and acquit you

What is NOT Considered a Defense?

Before we get to what are some possible defenses, I want to talk just real briefly about what is not a defense to rape.

In a situation where you’re engaged in sexual activity with a minor who has not reached the age of consent, consent is not a defense. It gets rather complicated dealing with Oklahoma law – who can give consent to whom, to what, and when. But let’s just assume that the accused is 25-years-old, and he’s engaged in some sort of sexual activity with someone who he finds out later to be a minor (under the age of 18). If she is not of the lawful age to consent, consent is not a defense. Period. This is called strict liability. In Oklahoma, many of our sex crimes cases fall under this term of strict liability – which means she was either old enough, or she wasn’t.

So what does strict liability look like in practice?

  • A good example of this is a man meets a woman in a bar. Remember that in Oklahoma, in order to be in a bar, she must be 21 years of age. Let’s say you witness the bartender ask for her ID, and because she looks young, you ask to see her ID yourself before you start moving the evening in a more intimate direction. But after a night together, her parents find out and call the police on you. You’re drug into law enforcement, and you’re being asked questions. And you say, “But she had an ID that said she was 21. The bartender was serving drinks. I relied upon that.” When you’re accused of rape in the state of Oklahoma, ignorance of her age is not a defense. It is a strict liability. She was either old enough to consent, or she wasn’t. And nothing you say and no set of the circumstances change that.
  • Child pornography is also a strict liability claim. You either possessed it, or you didn’t. There is no gray area. If it is deemed that this is a person under the age of 18, and you’re in possession of photographs, audio, or video, or still photos, of this individual, you are in possession of child pornography. There is no defense to that. Ignorance, again, is not a defense. It can mitigate the damages. It can be used in negotiating a plea deal for you. But it is not enough to get you acquitted in front of a judge or jury.

The Truth About these Types of Cases in Oklahoma

Our job together is to discover what the truth is. Whether you know it, or not, if you’re being falsely accused, there’s a good chance your accuser has a motive. So, we have to figure out what that motive might be.

I’ve seen false allegations of rape be used to extort men. To extort women. As some sort of financial responsibility to someone in an attempt to protect themselves or possibly in an attempt to stop enabling someone so that they can stand on their feet. When people make these allegations they have no idea how fast and furious this snowball rolls down the hill, and builds and builds and builds.

And these scenarios are endless and the allegations of sexual abuse and rape are very, very fact-specific. There’s no way for me to give a “How To” defend these cases that would be applicable to every case, but I can tell you what we see a lot of times.

1. Consent gone wrong

Much like our example of the young lady having the fake ID, if she isn’t old enough, it doesn’t matter if she consented. It is a strict liability crime. Rape in the second degree falls into that category. Oftentimes, we see rape in the second degree between boyfriend and girlfriend, wherein they think that they’ve waited for her to turn the right age, but they’re just mistaken about the law. Her consent is not enough, and your ignorance of the law is not enough.

Another category of defenses is a little bit like “buyer’s remorse.” They consent to the activity, and the next day they wake up and decide this was a bad idea. Oftentimes, we see this where alcohol is involved — everybody’s had a bit too much to drink, and the next morning the accuser regrets her actions. And that could be for a number of reasons:

  • Maybe the accuser doesn’t pride herself in engaging in casual sex. Although it is rather acceptable to a lot of folks, it’s really unacceptable to a number of people as well.
  • Maybe the accuser was seen leaving your place, and they don’t want someone to tell their boyfriend, husband, wife, etc., what happened.

In order to protect themselves, they now have to accuse you of drugging them, or holding them against them will, and having sex with them in a manner that was not within their consent.

2. The scorned woman (or man)

Let’s say for example, in this case, that it’s your girlfriend, and you’ve decided to break-up with her because you want to date someone else. And she doesn’t let you off the hook that easily. Or maybe you were engaged in what you thought was acceptable, casual sex. If someone thinks that it’s more than what you think it is, and you reject them, they might have a desire to teach you a lesson. And we have to explore these options and see if we can find evidence to support that as a motive for their lie.

3. The unpaid prostitute

A prostitute is oftentimes working for someone, and if you engage in that kind activity and think that she’s an easy mark to walk out after her services are completed, that consent ended when you did not complete the transaction as agreed. She did not consent to have free sex. When she reports back to her pimp, or her manager, or whoever, and she hasn’t been paid, somebody’s going to have to pay. There’s a strong likelihood it’s the man who stiffed the bill.

4. Divorce

Unfortunately, another area in which we see false allegations of sexual abuse, or sexual abuse of children, occurs during a divorce. And it’s incredibly difficult for people to imagine being in a situation where someone you once loved would conjure up a lie to cause such damage and wrongdoing that will forever riddle the accuser with horrible perceptions from the community.

Oftentimes, what we see in this scenario is where a parent coaches their child to make allegations against the parent or the other parent’s newfound love interest in a custody dispute. Because what we know for certain, is that in family law cases a judge is required to do what is in the best interest of the child. And there is not a judge in the state of Oklahoma that is going to find that it is in the best interest of the child to reside in the house with someone whom the child has accused of molestation or rape.

It is important that when we go out and engage in the very adult activity of sexual encounters, that we do so with respect in our minds. If you don’t want to find yourself in a position of being falsely accused, start out by treating your love interests with respect. At the end of the day, most people don’t want to be used. False allegations so often come from a place of hurt, so if you’re engaged in any type of sexual relationship, treat your partner with respect.

How Jacqui Ford Law Can Help

You must be brutally honest with your defense lawyer when we’re talking about these types of subjects so that we can figure out really what’s going on. It’s going to take work, it’s going to take investigation, and it’s going to take time. But the best news I have for you is that it is not hopeless.

Many people walk away from this without conviction. Many people away from this without having to register as sex offenders. But the only way that you can ensure that you have that opportunity is to make sure that you hire a qualified Oklahoma sex crimes defense lawyer. And when you do that, you can trust that you’re in the best hands, and that the hope is still alive.

Contact us today to see how we can help.

Sex Crimes Involving Children in OKC

Several teachers from local school districts in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area have been charged with sex crimes for having inappropriate relationships with their students.

Of course, it’s easy to find outrage at our teachers for engaging in that type of activity with our students.

But when we look closely at the law, what we realize is it can be a rather confusing situation for both the teacher and the student.

This blog post originally comes from a conversation on our Your Best Defense blog. To listen to the original podcast, click here.

What does the law say?

A number of times we see these students who are 16, 17, or 18-years-old who are otherwise legally able to consent. They believe that they are following the law when they’re engaging in activities with their teacher. They think that they have the legal, lawful authority to consent.

And, sometimes, even by the government’s account, the children, if you will in these cases, the 16, 17, and 18-years-olds are the ones pursuing the sexual activity.

Not to make excuses for what’s appropriate and inappropriate, but the law says that a 16, and 17, and 18-year-old can, in fact, consent to sexual intercourse in certain situations. What they don’t understand, and what many people don’t understand, is that there are special circumstances for teachers.

There is a statute, separate and distinct from all of the other rape cases, that defines having sex with a student, or an employee of a school. And what it says is that NO student can consent to sexual intercourse with a teacher.

But why is that so? If the teacher and the teenager are both consenting adults (for the purposes of this conversation) and can consent to a consensual sexual act. Why can they two of them not do it together?

Well, it’s not just because it makes us feel icky.

The idea is that the teacher is in an authoritative position over the student. Whether they are actually in an authoritative position over the student, or they can be perceived by the student to be in an authoritative position. And that’s why the legislature has carved out this special set of circumstances.

It doesn’t always shake out to be fair because people are unaware of this law, and it’s only found in one little, tiny paragraph in a very complicated statute in Oklahoma laws.

But because the teacher maintains an authoritative position over the student, the law just says under zero circumstances is this type of relationship okay.

How do people feel about this law?

People in the community have different, varying opinions on this.

The fact of the matter is that we all owe a duty to each other, and to our children, to talk to them about what the law is.

We have a duty to make sure that they know how the law will view these actions, even if they think it is fun and exciting and meaningful because they’re not being “forced” to do it by their teacher in an authoritative position, or because they’re not being coerced, or threatened, or bribed, or promised good grades.

Because in these cases the student, oftentimes, is not only a victim of the crime charged. The student becomes the victim of the media.

What can happen to the student?

Especially when we’re dealing with young men, the damage to the teacher being charged is as great upon the child, as it is to the teacher. The child now has a reputation in the community of whatever the community wants to accuse him of. But he’s oftentimes not brought back in and coddled and taken care of because he’s no longer considered a child, but he’s also not considered a victim of a rape in the more traditional sense of the term.

Oftentimes, he’s embarrassed. Oftentimes, it prohibits him from being able to continue school in that school because he cannot stand to go back and face his peers. Oftentimes, the only way the story gets out is because the student is bragging about it to their friends.

And we also know, in those situations, if we’re dealing with teenage boys talking about sex, that those stories oftentimes get drastically exaggerated and embellished, especially in a locker-room setting where they’re bragging and talking about how much action they got the night before.

So, this young man, who, for all intents and purposes, just got to put a new notch in his belt, is now drug through the mud as some child-victim of rape. And having that label placed upon them is as damaging to them in their future as having the label of rapist be placed on the teacher.

It’s probably time for the laws to change, but it’s not likely to happen here in Oklahoma. So, we have to understand where the law is, and we need to inform our kids so as to not find ourselves in this position.

If you’re a student engaged in that kind of activity, I would encourage you to keep it to yourself if this is not something that you want to be made public and to be drug into court to talk about it and testify about it.

If you’re a teacher engaged in this type of activity with a student I suggest that you stop it right now. Because the damage to your relationship and the damage to your career is greater than you can ever imagine. And the results of how this is going to shake out just can’t be measured.

What are the consequences?

If we’re dealing with student on teacher sexual assault, or rape, as it’s defined in Oklahoma, it carries a mandatory minimum of one year, and a maximum of 15 years in the Department of Corrections.

That teacher will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life, which not only means they’re going to never teach again, but they’re likely not going to be able to live in the metropolitan-area because of sex offender registration laws, and restrictions on where folks can live.

The idea of a child being the aggressor in these situations has some appeal for a jury because I think jurors understand day-to-day activities and real life way better than legislators ever could. But it is not a legal defense.

And it’s important for us to recognize the difference between legal defenses and arguments made to a jury. To run the risk of taking a case like this to jury trial carries with it a huge burden when the teacher is facing 15 years in the Department of Corrections.

Prosecutors in this state have no interest in making deals with teachers because our prosecutors are elected officials. And as soon as they don’t charge you, or make a deal where you’re not a convicted felon, or don’t require you to register, that will be the first ad against them in their next election. It’s going to draw opponents. And, unfortunately, elected positions make decisions based upon their future electability, and not what’s right and wrong.

In the same vein, our legislators continue to make laws that don’t make any sense, and aren’t designed to protect anybody. And they’re not going to loosen up the ties on these laws, so we owe it to each other, and to our kids, to inform them.

So, what if you’re a teacher, or you’re a student, and you find yourself in this situation?

Is this all doom and gloom and everything’s awful, and we should just pack up our bags and go to prison for the rest of our lives? No. The most important thing you need to do if you’re involved in this situation now if it’s been disclosed or has come out publicly is to contact an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer that knows how to handle the cases from the get-go.

It’s a terrible idea to give a statement to law enforcement without the sound advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. But worse than that is to go out publicly and answer questions with the media.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t apply just to teachers. It applies to any adult employee of a school district, including the principals, or a counselor, or a coach, anyone who’s employed by the school district is deemed to have an authoritative position over the children.

Contact Jacqui Ford Law

So, we would encourage you, if you have any questions about rape, or sex crimes, in Oklahoma City, or sex crimes involving children, specifically with regards to teachers and students, and other employees of a school district, please contact us to advise you and represent you in the future.

Teen Sexting and Child Porn Laws in Oklahoma

Canadian County Investigators Arrest Sexual Predators

In the past few years, several Oklahoma residents have been arrested for soliciting minors online. The Canadian County Sheriff’s Department has established a task force dedicated to ferreting out predators who solicit underage people online for sexual encounters. Using undercover deputies as decoys, the Canadian County Sheriff’s Department creates profiles on numerous social media networks aimed at catching predators in sting operations. 

24-Year-Old Busted for Soliciting Sex from a Minor in 2018

In August of 2018, a 24-year-old Canadian County resident was busted for soliciting sex from an undercover decoy who identified as a 14-year-old female. Conversations between the 24-year-old and the decoy on Facebook involved explicit and graphic descriptions of sexual acts as well as plans to meet up at a Kohl’s department store in Yukon.  The 24-year-old brought condoms to the meet-up to avoid an unwanted pregnancy with who he thought was a minor. He was arrested in the department store’s parking lot by sheriff’s deputies. 

38-Year-Old Arrested in OKC McDonald’s in 2013

Another man, 38, was arrested for soliciting sex from a minor in 2013. Undercover deputies posed as a 15-year-old girl looking to buy an automobile. The 38-year-old promised a car in exchange for sex from who he thought was a minor. Sheriff’s deputies arrested him as he ate a burger and waited for the supposed 15-year-old in an Oklahoma City McDonald’s. 

Citizens in Canadian County Performing Predator Sting Operations

A group of private citizens in Canadian County have performed their own sting operations to lure predators. Posing as underaged girls, two men unaffiliated with law enforcement are now entangled in a lawsuit for defamation. These citizens entice alleged predators into public spaces, posing as 13, 14, and 15-year-old girls, and film the encounters. These encounters are then uploaded to a public Facebook page. The lawsuit, filed in April of 2019, could have lasting ramifications for locals who take matters into their own hands without law enforcement supervision. 

Predator Stings are Difficult to Defend in Court

The nature of sexual predator stings that begin online are difficult for area attorneys to defend. Conversations, even if conducted in private messages, can be saved and screenshotted. These conversations, where adults are communicating with minors lewdly, and soliciting intimate encounters appear virtually indefensible. 

Minors cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult, even if they initiate the conversation or claim to have had sexual partners in their past. 

Consequences for Sexual Crimes Against Children in Oklahoma

Knowingly communicating with an individual who identifies as underage could lead to serious criminal charges, mandated sexual offender program participation, and lifelong damage to your reputation and career. Not only is it criminal to solicit sex from underaged people, there is a good chance that the person on the other end of that conversation is a law enforcement officer.

Following are potential consequences for those who commit sexual crimes against minors in Oklahoma:

  • Those convicted must register as sex offenders 
  • Prison Sentences
  • Court fees
  • Parole 
  • Probation

Criminal Defense for Sex Offenders

Those who are facing charges for crimes of a sexual nature as well as those who have been convicted of sexual offenses can benefit from retaining a criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney can assist you with seeking professional counseling and the completion of all court-mandated punishments. The laws for sexual offenders in Oklahoma can be complex and failure to comply with programs like sex offender registries can land you in prison. 

Consulting with a lawyer is the best method for ensuring that you receive fair and just treatment under the law. If you have been arrested or convicted of a sexual offense, call our office to schedule a consultation with our experienced sex crimes defense attorney.