An Oklahoma appeals court has overturned the conviction of an area man sentenced to 35 years in prison for rape. The defendant is currently confined to the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite, where he was set to serve a significant prison sentence for his rape conviction. If you have been charged with rape or another …
An Oklahoma appeals court has overturned the conviction of an area man sentenced to 35 years in prison for rape. The defendant is currently confined to the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite, where he was set to serve a significant prison sentence for his rape conviction. If you have been charged with rape or another serious criminal offense in Oklahoma, your first course of action should be to contact our criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center. Our legal team has extensive experience protecting the legal rights of individuals charged with criminal offenses throughout Oklahoma, and will work diligently to help you build a strong defense in your criminal case.
Understanding Rape Charges in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the conviction of 53-year-old Mark Lawler, who was found guilty of first-degree rape last year by a jury in Hughes County. Lawler appealed his conviction and claimed that the trial judge violated his Sixth Amendment rights when he forced Lawler to be represented by a defense attorney at trial instead of allowing him to represent himself. In a unanimous opinion on May 6, the five-judge appeals court agreed with Lawler and ruled that the defendant’s lack of legal training was not sufficient grounds to force him to be represented by an attorney.
Penalties for an OK Rape Conviction
Under Oklahoma law, rape is considered an act of sexual intercourse involving a victim who did not, or who is legally unable to, consent to the act. For example, if the victim is under the age of 16, if the victim is incapable through mental illness of giving legal consent, or if the victim and the accused are student and teacher, rape charges may be filed as a result of the sexual relationship. There are two degrees of rape charges in Oklahoma: first-degree rape and second-degree rape, with the most serious of the two being first-degree rape. In Oklahoma, a first-degree rape conviction carries severe penalties, including five years to life in prison, or possibly even the death penalty.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Being convicted of any criminal offense in Oklahoma can significantly affect the rest of your life, but rape charges in particular carry a stigma that typically lasts long after the prison term is served. If you are facing criminal charges for a serious offense like rape in Oklahoma City, or elsewhere in Oklahoma, consult our criminal defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center for legal help. With our experienced attorneys on your side, you may be able to get your charges reduced to a lesser offense, or possibly even dismissed altogether. Don’t let criminal charges dictate the rest of your life; contact our reputable defense attorneys today.