There is not a definition of sex crimes. What I would refer or what I would call a sex crime would be anything that requires the defendant after a conviction to register as a sex offender. There is a list of crimes anywhere from possession of child pornography to the worse of the worse, a sexual assault or worse that will require registry as a sex offender. Those are the crimes that I would classify as a sex offense or sex crime.
Are There Different Tiers Or Levels Of Sex Offense Charges In The State Of Oklahoma?
There are. Basically the sex offender registry act in Oklahoma categorizes somebody in three or four classes. I never really see the fourth class used but the main issue is how long you are going to maintain your registry as a sex offender. All classes require regular check-ins with the probation officer or with a registration supervisor. But certain classifications are temporary, you can work your way off of them. Oklahoma has a very few crimes that actually allow you to eventually work your way off of the sex offender registry but there are some.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Sex Offense Cases That Your Firm Typically Sees?
We have dealt with everything from possession of child pornography, which, again, can be a sex crime and can require registry, all the way up to an actual sexual assault where the allegations are as serious as they can be. It can carry life imprisonment. In either case, we try to deal with it as the whole person. If there is an issue that requires treatment, we try and get ahead of that right away and get going on some sort of a treatment. If it is just an outright denial of the facts, then we employ private investigators and everything else we can do to get ahead of it and make sure we know everything. In many cases, we know more than the state knows about the situation that they are claiming to have happened.
What Determines If A Sex Crime Charge Is Going To Be Considered Felony Versus Misdemeanor?
In Oklahoma, generally it is going to be a felony if it is a sex offense. There are certain times where a case may be put down to a misdemeanor for the purposes of expungement to make sure it does not have a permanent effect on someone’s record. But those crimes rarely require registry. In Oklahoma, for instance, a peeping tom is a misdemeanor if basically it is just for the person’s phone, if it is for their own gratification or if it is in an area that someone would not consider necessarily private. If it goes beyond that to a place where someone would expect to have privacy, for instance, a bathroom or changing room or anything like that is generally going to move it up to a felony level. If there is video or any kind of recording equipment made for the use of technology or broadcasting or digital recording of it, it is generally going to make it a sex offense, a felony and therefore a registered crime.
What Are Differences Between State Level And Federal Level Sex Crime Charges?
One of the interesting differences in Oklahoma is there are federal guidelines that Oklahoma has adopted. For instance, in Oklahoma, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years old. However, Oklahoma has adopted some federal guidelines which include videotaping, use of technology and things like that. It makes it peculiar in that Oklahoma, any aged person can walk up to a 16-year old and inquire verbally about whether or not they would be interested in sexual activity and not be prosecuted. There is no law against that, a 16-year old can have sex with anyone over the age of 16 they wish to and have any kind of sexual contact with them.
However, if that communication is done through technology, whether that is arguably even by a phone but certainly by text message or through the internet, because of the federal guidelines the Oklahoma has adopted, that makes it a crime. Oklahoma has one of the lower age of consent and because of that, it can be a confusing situation. Beyond that, the bigger things with federal is I always think that a federal crime has a lot more treatment options as part of the sentence. Federal sentencing guidelines are fixed and there is not much leeway as far as what does come in. However, federal incarceration and federal custody generally results in a much more developed and thorough treatment situation for the problems than does a state law crime.