Criminal Charges in Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s criminal code divides crimes into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Unlike most other states, Oklahoma does not classify misdemeanors and felonies into different classes.
Misdemeanor Charges in Oklahoma
Misdemeanor crimes are less severe than felonies. Typically, individuals facing misdemeanor charges in Oklahoma cannot be sentenced to more than one year in jail or more than $500 in fines. The punishment for misdemeanor crimes is determined based on the type and severity of the offense. Common examples of misdemeanors in Oklahoma include stalking, public intoxication, certain assaults and batteries, prostitution, petty theft, driving under the influence, drug possession, and others.
Felony Charges in Oklahoma
Felony crimes in Oklahoma have a prison sentence of more than one year. However, some felonies may be punished by a death sentence. The punishment depends on the type and severity of the offense. Common examples of felonies in Oklahoma include rape, drug trafficking, armed robbery, child abuse and sexual abuse, homicide, sexual assault, and a second DUI offense, among others.
Oklahoma Criminal Court Process
The criminal court process in Oklahoma could take anywhere from three months to several years to complete, depending on the underlying criminal offense, the jurisdiction, the complexity of the case, and many other factors. The Oklahoma criminal court process is comprised of the following stages:
- Pre-charge investigation
- The arrest of the defendant
- Initial court appearance during which the defendant receives a copy of the charges filed against them
- Preliminary hearing conference during which the judge will set a date for a preliminary hearing
- Preliminary hearing during which the judge will examine the State’s evidence against the defendant and determine whether there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the crime
- Pre-trial docket. During this hearing, the defendant and their lawyer appear before the judge to announce whether they want to plead guilty or go to trial.
- Plea or disposition docket. During this hearing, the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to the charges.
- Jury trial. During this trial, a jury comprised of 12 jurors in felony cases or six jurors in misdemeanor cases decides whether the defendant is guilty of the crime.
- Non-jury trial. If a jury trial is waived by the judge, the criminal case will be decided by the judge alone.
- Deferred sentence. Once the judge accepts the defendant’s guilty plea, they can postpone or defer sentencing for the crime until a later date.
- Sentencing. During this step, the judge determines the final sentence for the defendant based on the jury’s recommendations.
- Appeal. If the defendant is convicted of a crime, he or she has a right to request an appeal.
Navigating the criminal court system on your own can be complicated. Reach out to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to help you fight the charges and pursue a path forward.
Possible Defenses Against Criminal Accusations
There are a variety of possible defenses that lawyers use to defend their clients facing criminal accusations. Some of the defense strategies that may be available to a defendant include:
- Mistaken identity. By using this defense strategy, the defendant claims their actual innocence when the case against them relies on witness statements.
- Lack of intent. Most criminal offenses in Oklahoma require the prosecution to prove that the defendant had the intent to commit a crime. If there is not sufficient evidence to prove the defendant’s intent, the defendant cannot be convicted.
- No guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty. If they do not have sufficient evidence to satisfy the burden of proof, the defendant cannot be guilty of a crime.
- False accusations. Many individuals facing criminal charges are falsely accused of crimes they did not commit.
- Self-defense. This defense might be available to individuals facing assault or battery charges if their use of physical force was justified to defend themselves or others.
- Entrapment. A defendant is not guilty of a crime if they were persuaded into violating the law through coercion or intimidation by law enforcement.
- Mental illness. Defendants who suffer from a diagnosed mental illness may be able to avoid a criminal conviction.
If you do not know which defense strategy to use in your particular case, consider speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Military Law Group, I will provide you with the aggressive legal representation you need to pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case.