Oklahoma Sexting Laws
Sexting, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, is the act of sending nude or sexually explicit pictures or explicit text between two or more people through text messages or similar messaging systems. The act of “sexting” itself is not illegal in Oklahoma but there are, however, certain circumstances that can make it a criminal act punishable under several of Oklahoma’s sex crime laws. You just see the Oklahoma Sexting Laws blog.
In the vast majority of cases, when two consenting adults engage in sexting, there is nothing criminal about doing so. It’s when sexting involves images of persons under the age of 18—even if they are consensual—that both federal and Oklahoma state child pornography laws come into play. These laws not only make it illegal for adults to possess pornographic material involving minors, but they also make it illegal for teens to be in possession of this kind of material, too.
When Does Sexting Become A Criminal Offense?
Depending on what kind of material is sent and who sends it during a sexting session, participants might be charged under several different Oklahoma laws. Laws regarding possession, production, and distribution of child pornography, soliciting minors through electronic media, and distributing obscene material to minors could all be used for prosecuting sexting-related activities.
Unfortunately, in today’s high tech world, we don’t always know who is on the other end when we’re sending messages back and forth. It’s all too common for people, both young and old, to misrepresent and even lie about themselves when they communicate online. Adults can easily find themselves in legal trouble when they unknowingly exchange explicit material with someone under 18 that they’ve met through messaging or chat apps.
Teens themselves can also end up in hot water—even if explicit material they exchange is consensual. Believe it or not, teens in Oklahoma have been prosecuted for possessing child pornography when it was discovered that they had nude images of themselves!
Oklahoma Laws Relating To Sexting
Perhaps the most problematic charges that could arise from sexting-related crimes are those dealing with child pornography. Child pornography is defined in Oklahoma Statute Title 21 § 1024.1 as any material where:
“…a minor under the age of eighteen (18) years is engaged in any act with a person, other than his or her spouse, of sexual intercourse which is normal or perverted, in any act of anal sodomy, in any act of sexual activity with an animal, in any act of sadomasochistic abuse including, but not limited to, flagellation or torture, or the condition of being fettered, bound or otherwise physically restrained in the context of sexual conduct, in any act of fellatio or cunnilingus, in any act of excretion in the context of sexual conduct, in any lewd exhibition of the uncovered genitals in the context of masturbation or other sexual conduct, or where the lewd exhibition of the uncovered genitals, buttocks or, if such minor is a female, the breast, has the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer, or wherein a person under the age of eighteen (18) years observes such acts or exhibitions.”
Several other sex crime charges could be brought against someone engaged in sexting with a minor including:
- 21 O.S. § 1123 – Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to Child Under 16
- 21 O.S. § 1021 – Indecent Exposure – Indecent Exhibitions – Obscene or Indecent Writings, Pictures, Etc. – Solicitation of Minors
- 21 O.S. § 1021.2 – Minors – Obscene or Indecent Writings, Pictures, etc.
- 21 O.S. § 1040.13a – Soliciting Sexual Conduct or Communication with Minor by use of Technology
You could end up in violation of any of these laws without even realizing that you’ve done something wrong. A conviction under any of the statutes listed above is a felony offense and punishable by significant fines and time in prison.
Oklahoma Juvenile Code Regarding Sexting
In the past, juveniles were charged just the same as adults regarding all of the crimes above. State legislators did, however, finally amend the juvenile code to specifically address teen sexting issues.
Juveniles will no longer face felony charges for consensual sexting activities in Oklahoma but those activities are still considered to be a crime and juveniles can still be prosecuted.
Teen sexting is specifically addressed in Oklahoma Statutes Title 10a § 2-8-221 – Transmission of Obscenity and Child Pornography.
It states, in part, that a juvenile can be charged with a misdemeanor if he or she “…is engaged in sending a transmission or causing the transmission to originate within this state containing obscene material or child pornography, as such terms are defined in Section 1024.1 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes…”
The law, however, does grant prosecutors the ability to charge juveniles with a felony if they believe it is warranted based on the circumstances.
Depending on the age of the person depicted in the transmitted material and whether or not the material was consensual, a misdemeanor conviction can carry fines ranging from $500 up to $1,800 and up to 80 hours of community service. The court can also order the defendant as well as his or her parents or guardians to attend an educational program or delinquency prevention and diversion program.
The law also stipulates that “The fact that the individual making the transmission and the individual pictured are the same does not alter the criminality” of the act. In more simple terms, that means that a minor in possession of an explicit picture of him or herself can be charged the same as if they had a picture of someone else.
Speak With An Oklahoma Sexting Crimes Defense Attorney
If you are being charged with any sexting-related sex crime in Oklahoma, it is imperative that you contact a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The faster you act, the more time your defense lawyer will have to investigate and plan your defense—and that will give you the best possible chance for good results.
A conviction for crimes resulting from sexting activities can result in substantial fines and significant time in prison. Don’t take chances and let a simple mistake ruin your life or the life of a teen family member that didn’t know any better. I have the knowledge and experience to make sure your rights are protected and that you get the best possible outcome for your case.
A consultation is free and confidential. Call (405) 510-0345 to schedule an appointment or contact me online anytime. I’ll be happy to go over the details of your sexting case and discuss exactly what I can do to help you.