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Is there a statute of limitations for sex crimes in Oklahoma?

By July 26, 2023January 29th, 2024No Comments

Sex crimes in Oklahoma are some of the most serious offenses a person can be accused of, and they can have severe consequences for those accused.

As an experienced Oklahoma City criminal defense firm, our team at Jacqui Ford Law is often asked about the statute of limitations for sex crimes. In this blog, we provide an overview of the statute of limitations for sex crimes in Oklahoma and how it applies to different types of offenses.

What is the statute of limitations in Oklahoma?

The statute of limitations refers to the time frame during which a criminal charge can be filed against a person.

In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations varies depending on the type of crime. For some crimes, there is no statute of limitations, while for others, the statute of limitations is limited to a certain number of years.

Statute of limitations for sex crimes in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for sex crimes varies depending on the severity of the offense.

Here is an overview of the statute of limitations for some of the most common sex crimes:

  • Rape and sexual assault: For first-degree rape and sexual assault, there is no statute of limitations. This means that charges can be filed against the accused at any time, regardless of how long ago the alleged offense occurred. However, for second-degree rape and sexual assault, the statute of limitations is 12 years from the date of the alleged offense.
  • Child sexual abuse: For child sexual abuse, the statute of limitations depends on the age of the victim at the time of the offense. If the victim was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, the statute of limitations is 12 years from the victim’s 18th birthday or within seven years of the discovery of DNA evidence identifying the perpetrator. If the victim was under 16 years of age at the time of the offense, there is no statute of limitations.
  • Sodomy: For first-degree sodomy, there is no statute of limitations. For second-degree sodomy, the statute of limitations is 12 years from the date of the alleged offense.
  • Indecent exposure: For indecent exposure, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the alleged offense.

Why does the Oklahoma statute of limitations exist?

The statute of limitations exists to protect individuals from being accused of a crime long after the evidence has deteriorated or disappeared.

It is also designed to prevent individuals from being subjected to constant fear of prosecution for something that may have occurred years ago.

If the statute of limitations has expired for a particular sex crime, the accused cannot be charged with the offense.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the accused flees the state, the statute of limitations may be tolled, or suspended, until the accused returns to Oklahoma.

In some cases, new evidence may also come to light that could result in charges being filed against the accused, even if the statute of limitations has expired. DNA evidence, for example, may be discovered years after the alleged offense occurred, and this could result in charges being filed.

Contact Jacqui Ford Law today

Understanding the statute of limitations for sex crimes in Oklahoma is crucial – for both victims seeking justice and those facing false accusations. While the state has made significant progress in extending and eliminating limitations for certain sex crimes, it is essential to stay informed about the specific laws and deadlines that apply to each case. If you or someone you know is facing false sex crime accusations, seeking legal representation promptly can help protect your innocence and ensure a fair trial. Together, let us work towards your freedom. Contact Jacqui Ford Law today.