Teenagers Walking Down the Street | Tulsa Criminal Defense LawyerIt’s a common misconception that children under the age of 18 can’t face adult criminal charges. Even though research shows the human brain doesn’t fully develop until the mid-to-late 20s, youthful impulsivity and poor judgment aren’t considered valid defenses under Oklahoma law.

If your son is facing sex crime charges, do not assume that he’ll be shown leniency because of his age. It is vital that you contact an expired Oklahoma criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss what steps you can take to protect his future.

What It Means to Be Charged as a Youthful Offender

When someone under the age of 18 is being charged with a crime, they can be sent through the juvenile justice system, charged as a youthful offender, or charged as an adult. Youthful offender status lets the state of Oklahoma require minors to serve the same length of sentence they’d receive if they were an adult. This is a harsher penalty than would be given through the juvenile justice system, yet youthful offender status provides rehabilitation opportunities that would not be available if a minor was convicted as an adult.

For sexually based offenses, a defendant can be charged as a youthful offender if they are 15, 16, or 17 years old and accused of any of the following crimes:

  • Rape in the first degree
  • Attempted rape in the first degree
  • Rape by instrumentation
  • Attempted rape by instrumentation
  • Forcible sodomy
  • Lewd molestation
  • Kidnapping

Your child can also be charged as a youthful offender if they are 16 or 17 years old and accused of rape in the second degree.

How Youthful Offender Status Affects Sentencing

Youthful offenders are not released from custody when they turn 18. If they have time remaining on their sentence, they’ll be transferred to an adult facility and placed in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

Please note that once a person has been certified a youthful offender in any Oklahoma court proceeding, they will remain a youthful offender in all subsequent criminal cases until they turn 18.

Why You Need an Experienced Tulsa Sex Crimes Attorney on Your Side

The youthful offender process is extremely complicated, so it’s vital that you seek legal representation as soon as possible. Most defense attorneys do not have much experience with this type of charge, and even fewer understand how to effectively defend a client who is charged as a youthful offender. At Berlin Defense, we have a tremendous amount of experience at both the district court and appellate levels dealing with youthful offender charges.

If your child has been charged as a youthful offender, time is not on your side. These cases require extensive preparation, including obtaining school records, medical records, mental health records, and other supporting evidence. Judges are not allowed to make a defendant proceed as a youthful defender on the basis of age alone, so our goal is to show evidence that supports moving the case to the juvenile system.

If we are successful in having your child’s case processed through the juvenile system instead of as a youthful offender, their record will be sealed. They’ll be able to avoid the stigma that comes with these types of charges being made public knowledge, and the consequences for their future will be greatly reduced.

If you’d like to learn more about the felony case process for sex crime charges in Oklahoma, we urge you to request a copy of Fighting The Guilt Machine. We provide this free resource to help our clients make informed decisions about protecting their legal rights.

Has Your Son Been Charged With a Sex Crime in the Tulsa, OK, Area?

If your son has been charged with a sex crime in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call 918.384.0850 for your initial strategy session. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.

Lee Berlin
Dedicated to defending clients accused of domestic violence, sex & violent crimes throughout eastern Oklahoma