WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT OKLAHOMA’S ONLINE SOLICITATION OF A MINOR CRIMINAL LAWS
Technology has laid a pathway to easily communicate with each other. Social media outlets and online chat rooms open the door to engaging people from our smartphones or computers. But merging that technology with criminal activity has serious consequences.
If you’ve been charged with online solicitation of a minor or other sex-related or computer crime, you need aggressive representation. You’ve got to have the best criminal defense attorney Tulsa has to offer. Call the Cale Law Office at 918-771-7314. Schedule your free initial consultation with attorney Stephen Cale.
There are three basic statutes that embrace online solicitation of a minor. They are:
- Lewd proposal to a child under 16 years old;
- Soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology; and
- Using access to computers to violate Oklahoma statutes. There are also federal laws concerning online solicitation of a minor that are not discussed in this article.
LEWD PROPOSAL TO A CHILD UNDER 16 YEARS OLD
When it comes to online solicitation, prosecutors tend to use this criminal statute the most. Perhaps the reason is that the so-called victim does not have to actually be under 16 years old. In 2012, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals decided in Barnard v. State, that the crime of making an indecent proposal to a child applied to indecent proposals made to an undercover officer posing as a child. What matters is whether the person making the lewd proposal believes that the person is younger than 16 years old. This charge usually stems from an undercover officer posing as a teen. It’s usually the type of scenario that people have seen on “To Catch A Predator.”
In order to get a conviction at trial, the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Knowingly and intentionally;
- Made an oral, written, electronic or computer generated lewd or indecent proposal;
- To a child under sixteen years of age, OR to a person the defendant believed to be a child under 16 years old;
- For the child to have unlawful sexual relations/intercourse with any person; AND
- The defendant was at least three years older than the child, was at least three years older than the purported child’s age, or used force or fear.
A person convicted of this crime could be sent to prison for 3 to 20 years. However, if the child, or purported child, is under 12 years old at the time the offense is committed, the punishment is at least 25 years in prison. A person found guilty of this offense two or more times is not eligible for probation, a suspended sentence, or deferred sentence. With the possible punishment as severe as this, you need the best criminal defense attorney Tulsa has to offer.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY REQUIREMENT
A person convicted of this crime, even if put on probation, must register as a sex offender for this offense.
As you can see, this charge has serious consequences if the person is determined to be guilty. Anyone charged with this crime needs the best criminal defense attorney Tulsa has to offer. For a skilled and experienced criminal lawyer, call the Cale Law Office at 918-771-7314. Schedule your free initial consultation with attorney Stephen Cale.
SOLICITING SEXUAL CONDUCT OR COMMUNICATION WITH A MINOR BY USE OF TECHNOLOGY
This type of online solicitation of a minor statute doesn’t specify an age. The only age consideration is that the person being solicited is a minor (under 18 years old), or believed to be a minor. This statute embraces the following conduct:
Soliciting sexual conduct with a minor, or other individual the person believes to be a minor by using any technology; OR
Communicating with a minor or other individual the person believes to be a minor for sexual or “pruient” interest by using any technology. The term “prurient” means “marked by or arousing an immoderate or unwholesome interest or desire; marked by, arousing, or appealing to sexual desire.”
The state statute defines use of any technology as “the use of any telephone or cell phone, computer disk (CD), digital video disk (DVD), recording or sound device, CD-ROM, VHS, computer, computer network or system, Internet or World Wide Web address including any blog site or personal web address, e-mail address, Internet Protocol address (IP), text messaging or paging device, any video, audio, photographic or camera device of any computer, computer network or system, cell phone, any other electrical, electronic, computer or mechanical device, or any other device capable of any transmission of any written or text message, audio or sound message, photographic, video, movie, digital or computer-generated image, or any other communication of any kind by use of an electronic device.”
The punishment for this offense is up to 10 years in prison and or a fine of up to $10,000. While not as serious as lewd proposal to a child under 16, the punishment for this crime is still severe. Anyone charged with this crime needs the best criminal defense attorney Tulsa has to offer. For a skilled and experienced criminal lawyer, call the Cale Law Office at 918-771-7314. Schedule your free initial consultation with attorney Stephen Cale. Attorney Cale dedicates his practice to criminal defense.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY REQUIREMENT
A person convicted of this crime, even if put on probation, must register as a sex offender,
USING ACCESS TO COMPUTERS TO VIOLATE OKLAHOMA STATUTES
This criminal statute is simple. It prohibits communicating with, storing data in, or retrieving data from a computer system or computer network to use that access to violate any of the provisions of the Oklahoma Statutes.
This crime is a felony, with a possible punishment of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. While not nearly as severe as the other crimes discussed in this article, this crime still is a felony. A felony record can hinder job prospects, keep you from voting, and ruin your reputation. Anyone charged with this crime needs the best criminal defense attorney Tulsa has to offer. For a skilled and experienced criminal lawyer, call the Cale Law Office at 918-771-7314. Schedule your free initial consultation with attorney Stephen Cale. Attorney Cale dedicates his practice to criminal defense.
NO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY REQUIREMENT
A person convicted solely of this crime does not have to register as a sex offender.
There could be any number of defenses to charges concerning online solicitation of a minor. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, some defenses might include:
- Invalid charge;
- Unconstitutional charge;
- Entrapment: This could apply to a large number of charges, especially sex crimes such as lewd or indecent proposal to a child. It may be available where there is an alleged online solicitation and the “child” is actually an undercover officer.
- Mistaken identity;
- Alibi: This defense asserts that the defendant was at another and different place at the time of the crime charged. A jury instruction on this defense states in part that “after careful consideration of all of the evidence in the case, you have a reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant was present at the time and place where the crime was committed, if it was committed, then you must find the defendant not guilty.”
- Failure to prove an element of the charge: See Prosecutions High Burden of Proof
- Romeo and Juliet Defense: See my article “What Are Romeo and Juliet Laws in Oklahoma?”
THE PROSECUTION’S HIGH BURDEN OF PROOF
Generally speaking, the burden of proof is the obligation that a party to a case has in order to prevail. In order to prevail on a charge, the prosecution must prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Oklahoma courts to not define “reasonable doubt.” But some states do define the term. In Arizona, for example, reasonable doubt is defined as proof that leaves a person “firmly convinced” that the particular proposition or claim is true. Proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” does not have to overcome any conceivable doubt. In other words, the prosecution in a criminal case does not have to prove the defendant is guilty with 100 percent certainty. The best criminal defense attorney Tulsa has will fight hard to prove that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof.
EXAMPLE OF BURDEN OF PROOF: LEWD PROPOSAL TO A CHILD UNDER 16
Let’s take an allegation of lewd proposal to a child under 16 years old. Remember that one of the elements of that crime is that defendant was at least three years older than the child, was at least three years older than the purported child’s age. If the prosecution does not prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, then the jury must find the defendant not guilty. In fact, if the prosecution fails to prove just one element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury must find the defendant not guilty.
THE CALE LAW OFFICE CAN HELP
Anyone charged with one or more of these crimes faces serious consequences. That person’s life, liberty, reputation, and future are at stake. Don’t hire just any lawyer to handle your criminal charge. Hire someone who dedicates his practice to criminal defense. Hiring the best criminal defense attorney Tulsa has to offer is a tremendous benefit. It’s essential that you hire a criminal lawyer no matter how serious the case is. Even if you think that the prosecution has a strong case against you, there may be a way out. But you can’t get a charge dismissed or reduced to a less serious charge unless you hire an attorney. For aggressive criminal defense, call the Cale Law Office at 918-771-7314. Or, contact us on our website.