How Does The Romeo And Juliet Law Impact The Age of Consent in Oklahoma?

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Romeo and Juliet Law in Oklahoma is an exception to statutory rape and impacts the age of consent for sexual relations. Like many states in the Union, Oklahoma has an exemption to a specific sex offense law known as the “Romeo and Juliet” exception. As you’re probably aware, Romeo and Juliet are the central figures in a Shakespeare play. They are young teens who’re deeply attracted to one another and pursue their love for each other over their families’ objections. The Romeo and Juliet exception to a specific Oklahoma sex crime statute ensures that if teens of a certain age choose to engage in sexual relations with one another, neither can be convicted of rape. If you are facing a statutory rape charge its important that you speak with a criminal defense attorney.

The Age Of Consent In Oklahoma

According to Oklahoma law, teenagers cannot lawfully consent to penetration-based sexual relations until they are 16 or older. This means that if someone aged 16 or older has sex with someone aged 15 or younger, the younger individual is considered a victim of rape, as the younger individual is not lawfully capable of consenting to this act. By contrast, if both sexual partners are aged 16 or older, they can lawfully consent to have sexual relations with each other—if they are both of sound mind, are not intoxicated to a specific degree, and otherwise meet all mandatory qualifications for informed consent under the law.

How The Romeo And Juliet Exception Works

The Oklahoma Romeo and Juliet exception applies if a teen aged 14 or 15 has sex with a teen aged 16, 17, or maybe even18. This exception holds that the older teen may have a defense to rape for engaging in sexual relations with the younger party. It is essential to understand that this exception doesn’t render a 14-year-old or 15-year-old legally able to give informed consent for sexual relations. It simply insists that the teenager who slightly older in age may have a defense to statutory rape due to the age of the younger party.

Statutory rape is a term used to describe rape by virtue of a young person’s age. It is, of course, possible for an older teen to be convicted of rape of a younger teen if the older teen uses force or otherwise engages in conduct that meets the legal definition of rape. However, the Romeo and Juliet exception—which contemplates that teens who are close in age may not always understand that engaging in sexual relations with one another is illegal—ensures that individuals aged 16, 17, and 18 cannot be convicted of rape solely for having sex with a 14-year-old or 15-year-old as a result of the younger party’s age alone. 

This legal exception underscores the reality that sex is not just a physical act but is also a legal one. Teens need to understand their legal rights and obligations regarding sex before engaging in conduct that could land them in hot water with the law and potentially forced to register as a sex offender in Oklahoma.

Criminal Defense Attorneys Near You

While teens across Oklahoma are regularly compelled to discuss the nuances of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in school, the legal realities of teen relationships are rarely discussed in either school or broader society. As a result, when faced with a Romeo and Juliet scenario, it isn’t always easy for parents or teens to know their legal rights and options. Thankfully, the experienced legal team at our firm has extensive experience advising Oklahomans of all ages about both their rights and their options under the law. To learn more about state law on this subject and how it could affect you and your family, reach out to Kania Law Office by calling (918) 743-2233 or contacting us online. We look forward to speaking with you.

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