The term stealthing is used to refer to the act of removing a condom during sexual intercourse without your partner's consent. Although stealthing isn’t codified in Oklahoma yet, it’s possible for nonconsensual condom removal to be considered a form of first-degree or second-degree rape. A person could also face charges related to the spread of infectious diseases, if the stealthing resulted in the transmission of an STD.
Rape Charges Can Stem From a Lack of Consent
In the most general terms, rape refers to sexually-based contact that occurs without the consent of all involved parties. Stealthing could potentially be considered a form of rape because the victim consented to sex with the expectation that a condom would be worn in order to reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Removing the condom during the act violates this expectation in a way that voids the previously given consent. Whether the case would be charged as first-degree or second-degree rape would depend on the specifics of the crime.
Rape in Oklahoma is covered under Oklahoma Statutes Title 21 § 1114. This statute defines first-degree rape as sexual intercourse that occurs under certain circumstances, such as when the victim is under the age of 14 and the perpetrator is 18 years or older, when the victim is incapable of giving consent, or when the victim was forced or coerced into giving consent. Second-degree rape is defined as sexual intercourse that occurs with a lack of consent outside of the circumstances specifically listed as first-degree rape.
What the general public often refers to as “date rape” is an example of first-degree rape in Oklahoma.
Under Oklahoma law, first-degree rape is punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of life without parole. A second-degree rape carries a sentence ranging from one year in prison up to 15 years in prison. A conviction for either charge also requires registration as a sex offender.
Stealthing May Also Lead to Charges for the Spread of Infectious Diseases
It is illegal to knowingly transmit a sexually transmitted disease (STD) under Oklahoma Statutes Title 21 § 1192 and Oklahoma Statutes Title 21 § 1192.1. Any person who has a communicable disease and engages in conduct that knowingly exposes another person to such disease can be charged with a felony offense punishable by imprisonment of up to five years.
It is also possible for someone who has contracted an STD as the result of stealthing to file civil charges seeking compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This could put your hard-earned assets at risk while exposing you to negative publicity that could damage your professional reputation.
Comparisons to Revenge Porn
The law surrounding stealthing is continually evolving. Many legal experts compare the situation to the push to implement laws outlawing revenge porn. As of March 2023, revenge porn is illegal in 48 states and in Washington, D.C. However, when Oklahoma made nonconsensual pornography a criminal offense in 2016, less than half of these states had similar laws on the books.
How a Tulsa Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help When You've Been Charged With Stealthing
If you've been accused of stealthing, your future is a risk. To protect yourself, you need a Tulsa criminal defense lawyer with experience handling sexually-based offenses. Berlin Law Firm is dedicated solely to the defense of Oklahoma residents charged with sex crimes and serious violent crimes.
I worked as a prosecutor before becoming a Tulsa criminal defense attorney, which has given me an in-depth understanding of how they charge and prosecute cases, the kinds of theories and evidence they'll present, and what witnesses they'll put on the stand. When Berlin Defense handles your case, you can be confident that this insider knowledge will be put to work for you.
To help you better understand what to expect as your case progresses, I encourage you to request a copy of our free guide, Fighting the Guilt Machine. This resource outlines how sex crimes are prosecuted in Oklahoma and discusses the most common mistakes I see my clients making.