Crimes Against Children - Tulsa Trial Attorneys

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What is Considered Ordinary Force for a Parent?

Provided, however, that nothing contained in this Act shall prohibit any parent, teacher or other person from using ordinary force as a means of discipline, including but not limited to spanking, switching or paddling, so long as the force is reasonable in manner and moderate in degree. 21 O.S. 844

Can Prayer be a Defense?

Yes, if evidence has been introduced in this case that the defendant, in good faith, selected and depended upon spiritual means alone through prayer, and according to the tenets and practice of a recognized church / (religious denomination), for the (treatment/cure of a disease) / (remedial care) of a child. It is the burden of the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not, in good faith, select and depend upon spiritual means alone through prayer, and according to the tenets and practice of a recognized church/(religious denomination), for the (treatment/cure of a disease) / (remedial care) of the child. If you find that the State has failed to sustain that burden, then the defendant must be found not guilty. OUJI-CR 4-35C

Can a Child 12 and Under Give Consent?

No, legally a child that is 12 and under cannot give consent. Often times, it is more common for a minor to be kidnapped by someone they know than a stranger.

When Would a Person be Convicted of Child Trafficking?

A person may be convicted of trafficking in children if the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime:

(1) [Name of Defendant] knowingly accepted / solicited / offered / paid / transferred any compensation in money / property / (anything of value); 

(2) in connection with the acquisition/transfer of the legal/physical custody) / adoption of a minor child. OUJI-CR 4-58A

When Would a Mother be Prosecuted for the Death of an Unborn Child?

Under no circumstances shall the mother of the unborn child be convicted for causing the death of the unborn child unless the mother has committed a crime that caused the death of the unborn child. OUJI-CR 4-57B

What are Important Words to Understand with Regards to Crimes Against Children?

  1. Abandonment of a child - A willful refusal or failure to adequately provide for a child, and not a mere failure on account of inability.

  2. Child - Any person under eighteen years of age.

  3. Child Abuse - Willful / Malicious (harm) / (threatened harm) / (failure to protect from (harm) / (threatened harm)) to the health, safety, or welfare of a child by a person responsible for the child’s health, safety, or welfare.

  4. Harm/(Threatened Harm) to the Health or Safety of a Child - Any real / threatened physical / mental / emotional injury / damage to the body / mind that is not accidental.

  5. Knowingly - With personal awareness of the facts.

  6. Maiming - Infliction on another of a physical injury that disables or disfigures or seriously diminishes physical vigor, performed with the intent to cause any injury.

  7. Malicious - The term imports a wish to vex, annoy or injure another person.

  8. Neglect - Failure or omission to provide a child under the age of eighteen with [select from the following: adequate (nurture and affection) / food / clothing / shelter / sanitation / hygiene / (appropriate education) / (medical/dental / (behavioral health) care/supervision / (appropriate caretakers) / (special care made necessary by the physical / mental condition of the child)].

  9. Person Responsible for a Child's Health, Safety or Welfare - A parent / (legal guardian)/custodian / (foster parent) / (a person eighteen years of age or older with whom the child's parent cohabitates or any other adult residing in the home of the child) / (an agent / employee of a public / private [residential home / institution / facility] / [day treatment program]) / (an owner/operator/ employee of a child care facility).

  10. Permit - To authorize or allow for the care of the child by an individual when the person authorizing or allowing such care knew or reasonably should have known that the child would be placed at risk of abuse / neglect / (sexual abuse) / (sexual exploitation).

  11. Procure - To induce or bring about.

  12. Torture - Infliction of either great physical pain or extreme mental cruelty.

  13. Unreasonable Force - More than that ordinarily used as a means of discipline.

  14. Willful - Purposeful. "Willful" is a willingness to commit the act or omission referred to, but does not require any intent to violate the law or to acquire any advantage. OUJI-CR 4-40D

Charged with Child Abuse in Oklahoma

Child Abuse and other child related offenses, are only second to murder as the most serious crimes that a person can be charged with. Not only do you face the potential of serious prison time, but you also may lose the rights to continue being your child’s parent.

Unfortunately, when it comes to allegations of a crime against a child, many people have a tendency to see the accused person as guilty until proven innocent. This is the opposite of how it should be. It can quickly turn into a witch-hunt without the proper legal representation. This can be very frustrating and you will want to protest. The danger is that even your words of protest and your attempts to explain may be twisted and used against you. Most times DHS will become involved and you have to fight on two fronts. You must be very very careful.

Don’t settle for hiring an attorney, hire a team. Make sure you hire a firm that has experience in both serious criminal felony litigation and DHS juvenile cases. Let an experienced team of attorneys help guide you through this scary time. Make sure that your attorney is experienced, aggressive, and compassionate.


Child Abuse - Definition 

Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health, safety or welfare by a person responsible for the child. This includes non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or neglect. 

Child Abuse - Punishment 

Any parent or other person who shall willfully or maliciously engage in child abuse shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections not exceeding life imprisonment, or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one (1) year, or by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or both such fine and imprisonment. As used in this subsection, "child abuse" means the willful or malicious harm or threatened harm or failure to protect from harm or threatened harm to the health, safety, or welfare of a child under eighteen (18) years of age by another, or the act of willfully or maliciously injuring, torturing or maiming a child under eighteen (18) years of age by another. 21 O.S. 843.5(1)

Child Abuse - Elements

No person may be convicted of child abuse unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:

(1) a person willfully / maliciously;

(2) harmed / (threatened harm to) the health, safety, or welfare;

(3) of a child under the age of eighteen;


(1) a person responsible for a child's health, safety, or welfare; 

(2) willfully / maliciously;

(3) failed to protect from harm / (threatened harm) to the health, safety, or welfare; 

(4) of a child under the age of eighteen. OUJI-CR 4-35

Crimes against Children (non-sexual) 

Sex Crimes against Children 

Crimes Against Children FAQs 

  • What is considered ordinary force for a parent for discipline?

  • Can prayer be a defense?

  • Can a child 12 and under give consent?

  • When would a person be convicted of child trafficking?

  • When would a mother be prosecuted for the death of an unborn child?

  • What are important words to understand with regards to crimes against children?

Crimes Against Children Litigation Expertise

Child Abuse charges in Oklahoma require an aggressive defense.  No matter which child offense charges you face, it is important to have an attorney who will help you navigate the complex judicial system and provide you with a clear understanding of the charges you face.  When defending child crime charges, it is necessary to obtain experienced, aggressive, and compassionate representation that understands and DHS Juvenile implications.  The smallest detail or piece of evidence can make all the difference.  The longer you wait to hire a Criminal Defense and Juvenile attorney the greater the stress and the greater the advantage to the prosecution.

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