In accordance with federal laws requiring sex offender registration and public notice of sex offender status, the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act became effective November 1, 1989. Since that time, it has undergone significant revisions, and the restrictions and responsibilities of convicted sex offenders in Oklahoma are continually changing.
Being required to register as a sex offender is often the most difficult part of conviction of a sex crime. Although an offense may have been consensual or relatively minor, the stigma associated with being branded a “sex offender” can result in people judging you more harshly than you deserve.
State law prohibits sex offender from living near schools or child care facilities. It prevents those convicted of sex crimes from working in certain jobs or careers, revoking or prohibiting certain state professional licenses.
The restrictions against sex offenders are so great that many attempt to circumvent these consequences by failing to register. However, failure to register as a sex offender is an additional felony charge that carries extra prison time and other associated penalties.
If you are charged with a sex crime, the first step is contacting an experienced and well-qualified defense lawyer with the tools and resources to successfully handle your case.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, your attorney can help you understand the implications of sex offender registration and can help you ensure that you remain in compliance in order to avoid additional negative legal consequences. Your defense lawyer can also make sure that your rights are protected, challenging any aspects your case or the Sex Offender Registration Act that violate your constitutional rights.
According to the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act, anyone convicted of a sex crime after the Act took effect must register with local law enforcement as a sex offender. The term of registration ranges from 15 years to life, depending on the risk level ascribed to the specific offense.
The Sex Offender Registration Act states, “The Legislature finds that sex offenders who commit other predatory acts against children and persons who prey on others as a result of mental illness pose a high risk of re-offending after release from custody. The Legislature further finds that the privacy interest of persons adjudicated guilty of these crimes is less important than the state's interest in public safety. The Legislature additionally finds that a system of registration will permit law enforcement officials to identify and alert the public when necessary for protecting public safety.”
However, Oklahoma law does not limit labeling as high-risk only those who commit crimes against children or who commit sex offenses because of mental illness. In fact, the state’s offense-based risk level assessment places statutory rape and sexual battery in the same risk level category as child rape, forcible rape, and habitual offenses.
While some states look at the totality of the case to determine a sex offender’s risk of re-offending, the state of Oklahoma looks solely at the offense. It does not consider any mitigating factors or circumstances. For this reason, a 19-year-old who has sex with a 15-year-old will be classified in the same risk level category as a 56-year-old who rapes an 8-year-old. An adult who gropes another adult without his or her consent would also be classified as a high risk offender.
Oklahoma divides sex offenses into three risk levels. Conviction of a Level 1 offense requires a person to register as a sex offender annually for 15 years. Conviction of a Level 2 offense mandates registration every six months for 25 years. Level 3 offenders are required to register every 90 days for life.
There are 7 sex crimes classified as Level 1 offenses, 3 which are classified as Level 2 offenses, and 12 which are considered Level 3 offenses. With the majority of sex crimes in Oklahoma given a Level 3 risk assessment, most people convicted of sex offenses in the state are required to register for life.
Oklahoma sex offenders face an extraordinary number of rules, restrictions, and penalties. In addition to providing address verification to local law enforcement, sex offenders must notify law enforcement if they will be leaving the state or visiting the state. They may be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor, and certain sex offenders will be required to have the words “SEX OFFENDER” blazoned across their drivers’ licenses.
Sex offenders are not allowed to live within 2,000 feet of a school or child care facility, which makes more than 80 percent of Oklahoma City off-limits for residency. If a person is convicted of a sex crime against a child younger than 13, he or she may not enter within a 500 foot “zone of safety” near schools, day cares, playgrounds, or parks. A sex offender may not live with another sex offender, and if the crime involved children, he or she may not live in a home with children, unless the children are his or her own kids and they were not the victims of the crime.
Whether you need sex crime defense or you are having difficulty understanding the Sex Offender Registration requirements, attorney Ryan Coventon can help. If you are in trouble for failure to register as a sex offender, there may be options for your defense. Call today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.