Obscenity-Threats-Harassment by Electronic Communication in Oklahoma

Obscenity, Threatening, or Harassment by Telephone or Other Electronic Communication

obscenity threat harass telephone internet charge defense attorney oklahomaIt’s illegal to willfully, by means of a telecommunication or other electronic communication device:

  1. Make any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent;
  2. Make a telecommunication or other electronic communication including text, sound, or images with intent to terrify, intimidate, or harass, or threaten to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or property of that person;
  3. Make a telecommunication or other electronic communication, whether or not conversation ensues, with intent to put the party called in fear of physical harm or death;
  4. Make a telecommunication or other electronic communication, including text, sound, or images whether or not conversation ensues, without disclosing the identity of the person making the call or communication and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number;
  5. Knowingly permit any telecommunication or other electronic communication under the control of the person to be used for any purpose prohibited by this law; and
  6. In conspiracy or concerted action with other people, make repeated calls or electronic communications or simultaneous calls or electronic communications solely to harass any person at the called number(s).

This is the “sexting” statute. Note that you can easily violate #1 when texting your significant other. 

“Telecommunication” and “electronic communication” mean any type of telephonic, electronic or radio communications, or transmission of signs, signals, data, writings, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by telephone, including cellular telephones, wire, cable, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical system or the creation, display, management, storage, processing, transmission or distribution of images, text, voice, video or data by wire, cable or wireless means, including the Internet. The term includes:

  1. A communication initiated by electronic mail, instant message, network call, or facsimile machine including text, sound, or images;
  2. A communication made to a pager; or
  3. A communication including text, sound or images posted to a social media or other public media source.

Use of a telephone or other electronic communications facility under this law includes all use made of such a facility between the points of origin and reception. Any offense under this law is a continuing offense and will be deemed to have been committed at either the place of origin or the place of reception. In other words, if you’re of state and make a harassing call to someone in Oklahoma, then you’ll be deemed to have made it in Oklahoma so that you can be prosecuted in Oklahoma.

Punishment for Obscenity, Threats, or Harassment by Telephone or Electronic Communication

A first offense is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. The maximum fine is $500. A second offense is a felony. The maximum punishment in prison is two years. The maximum fine is $1,000.

Sources: 21 O.S. §§ 9, 10,& 1172

Malicious Harassment Based on Race, Color, Religion, Ancestry, National Origin, Disability 

This is considered Oklahoma’s hate crime law. It’s a crime to maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability:

  1. Assault or batter another person;
  2. Damage, destroy, vandalize or deface any real or personal property of another person; or
  3. Threaten, by word or act, to do any of the above acts there is reasonable cause to believe that such act will occur.

It’s illegal to maliciously and with specific intent to incite or produce, and which is likely to incite or produce, imminent violence, which violence would be directed against another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability, make or transmit, cause or allow to be transmitted, any telephonic, computerized, or electronic message.

It’s illegal to maliciously and with specific intent to incite or produce, and which is likely to incite or produce, imminent violence, which violence would be directed against another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, or disability, broadcast, publish, or distribute, cause or allow to be broadcast, published or distributed, any message or material.

No person, partnership, company, or corporation that installs telephonic, computerized, or electronic message equipment will be required to monitor the use of such equipment for possible violations of this law, nor will such person, partnership, company or corporation be held criminally or civilly liable for the use by another person of the equipment in violation of this section, unless the person, partnership, company, or corporation that installed the equipment had prior actual knowledge that the equipment was to be used in violation of this law.

Punishment for a Hate Crime

The first violation is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. The maximum fine is $500. A second and subsequent offense is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is ten years. The maximum fine is $10,000. You’re civilly liable for any damages resulting from any violation of this law.

Sources: 21 O.S. § 850

Current as of April 7, 2020. Laws are subject to change at any time! Go to the sources cited above for the most up-to-date law.

Charged with threatening, obscene, or harassing communication in Oklahoma? Call Oklahoma obscenity lawyer Frank Urbanic in OKC for a free case consultation.

Don’t panic! Call Urbanic.® 405-633-3420