Best Oklahoma City Criminal Lawyers
If you have been charged with a crime in Oklahoma City, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Criminal charges can have severe and long-lasting consequences, so you need strong legal counsel fighting for your rights. This article provides an overview of criminal law in Oklahoma City and how an attorney can help, as well as tips for choosing the best lawyer for your specific situation.
Overview of Criminal Law in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma has statutes outlining various criminal offenses and their associated penalties. Charges can range from minor misdemeanors to serious violent felonies. Some of the most common criminal allegations in Oklahoma City include:
- Drug offenses like possession, distribution, trafficking
- DUI and DWI
- Theft, robbery, burglary
- Domestic violence and abuse
- Sex crimes
- Violent crimes like assault, battery, manslaughter
- White collar crimes like fraud, embezzlement
The punishments for a conviction vary widely based on the type and severity of the crime. Possible penalties can include fines, probation, community service, license suspension, jail time, or even long-term imprisonment. Defendants may also face collateral consequences like damaged personal relationships, difficulty finding a job, and more.Having a criminal record can negatively impact your life in many ways. An experienced attorney understands these consequences and will work diligently to help you avoid conviction so you can move forward with your life unhindered.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
The role of a criminal defense attorney is to protect your constitutional rights at every stage of the legal process. An attorney can provide the following types of assistance:
- Investigate the Circumstances: Your lawyer will thoroughly examine the allegations, interview witnesses, review evidence like police reports, and visit the crime scene. This helps identify any procedural mistakes, constitutional violations, or other opportunities to get charges reduced or dismissed.
- Build a Strong Defense Strategy: Based on the investigation, your attorney will develop a defense to counter the prosecutor’s arguments. For example, they may argue you acted in self-defense, were misidentified, or did not have criminal intent.
- Negotiate with the Prosecutor: Many cases are resolved through plea bargains, which involve negotiating with the prosecutor to get charges dropped or reduced. An experienced lawyer knows how to craft persuasive arguments to secure a favorable deal.
- Represent You in Court: If a trial becomes necessary, your attorney will argue before the judge and jury to show reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case. They will also make objections to inadmissible evidence.
- Advise You of Your Options: Your lawyer will explain the risks and benefits of different legal strategies, like going to trial vs. accepting a plea bargain. They will provide guidance, but you ultimately make the final decision.
Having an advocate in your corner who understands the complexities of criminal law can relieve much of the stress of facing charges. A good lawyer knows how to navigate the system to achieve the best possible outcome.
Tips for Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney in Oklahoma City
Not all lawyers are equal when it comes to skill and experience with criminal cases. When researching attorneys, keep the following tips in mind:
Focus on Criminal Defense
Seeking out a lawyer who specializes solely in criminal defense is recommended. Those who also handle civil cases like personal injury may not have as much expertise with the criminal justice system. Look for a firm that deals exclusively with criminal matters.
Check Credentials and Experience
Find out where the lawyer attended law school and how many years they have practiced criminal law. Also ask how many cases similar to yours they have handled. Their track record with past clients will give you insight into their capabilities.
Consider Former Prosecutors
Some excellent defense attorneys are former prosecutors. Their experience on the other side gives them insight into the prosecution’s strategies and how to counter them. Just be sure they now fully defend clients rather than still maintaining ties to their old office.
Review Ratings and Reviews
Check online sources like Google, Facebook, and Yelp to see what former clients say. Look for consistent positive feedback on their legal knowledge, communication skills, professionalism, and case results. Beware of reviews that seem overly negative or positive.
Meet for a Free Consultation
Schedule a free meeting with lawyers you’re considering. This lets you assess their demeanor, communication style, knowledge of your type of case, and confidence level. Make sure you feel comfortable working with them.
Understand Fees Upfront
Ask about both flat and hourly rates, typical retainer amounts, and any additional costs. Get fee details in writing so there are no surprises down the road.
Consider a Public Defender If Eligible
Those with limited financial means who cannot afford a private lawyer may qualify for a court-appointed public defender. These attorneys handle many cases each year and have solid understanding of criminal law. Just know their time is split among multiple clients.
Finding the Right Oklahoma City Criminal Attorney for You
Being arrested and charged with a crime in Oklahoma City can be scary and overwhelming. But having an experienced criminal defense lawyer guide you through the complex legal process can give you confidence and peace of mind.Do your research to find an attorney who makes you feel comfortable and seems highly capable of handling your specific criminal allegations. With the right legal representation, you have an excellent chance of a favorable case outcome so you can move on with your life unhindered. The lawyer you choose may be the most important decision you make, so invest the time to select the right one.