Oklahoma has a lot of zero to life ranges of punishments. The reason for that is the idea that the same action in different context can be a very different crime in its severity. So, again, I kind of used the two young people analogy that some sort of touching that one touch was appropriate and the other thought was not may end up being a crime but that does not mean it is a crime. The real hang-up becomes the sex offender registry, the long-term collateral consequences. I do not feel like there is anything. A lot of times in these cases, we prepare for trial from the very beginning because we do not feel like there is any deal that can be had that is worth the risk of becoming a sex offender for life. Again, in Oklahoma, so many of these crimes are lifelong sex offender without a chance to leave the sex offender registry that we want to do everything we can to keep that from happening.
How Does Being A Registered Sex Offender Impact Someone’s Life In Oklahoma?
In many cases, Oklahoma has some of the strictest sex offender registry requirements of any state. I have had clients move here who pled in another state with the idea that they would be on the registry for 5 years and moved to Oklahoma and Oklahoma refuses to remove them from the list or remove the requirement for them to register as sex offenders because of what their crimes were. There are crimes especially as a juvenile that can help keep you off the sex offender list. There are also some statutes in Oklahoma that allow a juvenile to be guilty of a crime that normally would require registry as a sex offender, however while they are still guilty of the crime, they can face the same punishment for it.
It does not actually require a registry, does not require them to be on the sex offender registry for life or at all and that is a huge gift. These are generally situations where people are closed to the same age but maybe one is not of the age of consent or again, they are close to the same age but a recording or something is made of it that would make it a felony because the person while legal to have any kind of sex they want, it is not legal for it to be recorded or photographed or anything like that.
Why Is It Critical To Retain An Experienced Attorney To Handle A Sex Crime Case?
When you call, you need to have a plan in place. While I have not seen every kind of case out there and the attorneys we work with have not seen any kind of case, we are experienced enough to know, “Hey, this is the route to take right away”. We have got somebody that made the confession, we need to get going on mitigating the damages right away, whether that is getting the confession recalled or just showing that the person needs help, that there is some sort of treatment that this person requires to become a healthy contributing member of the society or to make sure they do not pose a danger. The other side is sometimes it is just a matter of knowing who to talk to and who to make phone calls to.
With any kind of special victims situation, whether it is sex crimes or child abuse or anything like that, being able to go in, sit down in the district attorney’s office, explain the story more fully and also have the story more fully explained to them helps us better assist our clients in favorable outcomes. A lot of it comes down to knowing as much of the story as we can know and in controlling how or where the story gets told. It does not serve us to tell the story over and over when it is going to have to go to a jury trial and we need to make sure that the truth is explained to the jury in such ways that guarantee the best benefit possible. Back on even the first times I took crimes like that, sex crimes, and some of the advice I got or the answers to the questions I did not have to go find what may have caused a delay in justice for my client and may have at least caused my clients to have some sleepless nights when I could not answer their questions.
At this point, I feel like while I do not know the answer to every question, I know where to get the answers and I know who to call so that I can help my clients sleep better from the first day they hire me. A lot of times, that is as much of my job as anything is to get someone to turn their worry over our firm, to the attorneys in our group that work on the case so that someone can just get on and move on with their life and take care of the things that need to be taken care of, take care of their family, take care of their health and their job and things like that, let us do the worrying about their case. When you are talking about a sex offense crime, the boy who cried wolf has nothing on the girl who cries rape. There is a huge echo that goes out and a panic that runs through a community when that bell gets rung, it is very hard to put down.
The stress of going through an accusation like that, especially one that is, in some cases, unfounded is what we offer, maybe the most valuable thing I can offer a client is reduction of stress and just the ability to sleep at night. And I will say this many times with sex offender clients, I need to sit down with them or I will be available by text and I just say, “Hey, everything is okay, we are going to be okay. I am on top of it, you do not need to worry about it”. That is one of the most valuable things we can have in any case but especially in sex offender ca/ses.
Additional Information On Sex Crime Cases In Oklahoma and What Should I Do If I Am Arrested And Charged With A Sex Crime?
Oklahoma is a funny place in that I tell people all the time, 16 is age of consent but you cannot talk about it. That is where I see that people are getting trouble all the time is when there are text messages about it, texting that sort of thing can really cause what in most cases would be just communication between two adults. 18 is the age that is considered the age of consent for communication through technology about sexual subjects. We have had clients that legitimately thought they were doing nothing wrong, communicating with a 16-year old, only to find out that in Oklahoma, having sexual text messages or sexting or anything like that between someone over the age of 18 and someone under the age of 18 is a felony in Oklahoma and can cause a huge storm of problems for them.