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Oklahoma Crimes: Laws & Penalties

Understanding Oklahoma’s Criminal Laws and Penalties

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

In Oklahoma, crimes are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses that are typically punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $500 (unless a different amount is specified for the offense). Examples of misdemeanors include petty theft, simple assault, trespassing, and first-time DUIs.Felonies, on the other hand, are more serious crimes that carry punishments of more than one year in state prison and fines of up to $1,000 (again, unless a statute specifies otherwise). Felonies include crimes like murder, rape, robbery, burglary, and drug trafficking.Some crimes, called “wobblers,” can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances and the prosecutor‘s discretion. A good example is domestic violence – it can be a misdemeanor for a first offense but a felony if there are aggravating factors or prior convictions.

Statute of Limitations

Another important concept to understand is the statute of limitations. This is the time limit for prosecutors to file charges against someone for a particular crime. In Oklahoma, there is no statute of limitations for major crimes like murder, rape, and some sex crimes against children. But for most other felonies, charges must be brought within 3-12 years, depending on the offense. Misdemeanors generally have a 3-year statute of limitations.So if you‘re accused of a crime, one of the first things your attorney will look at is whether the charges were filed within the allowed time frame. If not, the case could be dismissed.

Violent Crimes

Now let‘s dive into some specific categories of crimes, starting with violent offenses. Oklahoma law defines a number of crimes as “violent” based on their nature, not necessarily whether force was used. These include:

  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Shooting with intent to kill
  • Assault and battery with a deadly weapon
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Rape and other sex crimes
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Domestic abuse

Penalties for violent crimes are severe, often carrying lengthy prison sentences. For example, first-degree murder is punishable by death or life in prison. Shooting with intent to kill can result in up to life in prison. Assault and battery with a deadly weapon is punishable by up to 10 years. Many violent crimes also fall under Oklahoma‘s “85% rule.” This means that if convicted, the person must serve at least 85% of their sentence before being eligible for parole. So a 10-year sentence would require serving at least 8.5 years in prison. If you‘re facing charges for a violent crime, it’s crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. These are serious, life-changing accusations that require a strategic and aggressive defense.

Drug Crimes

Drug offenses are another major category of crimes in Oklahoma. The state has some of the strictest drug laws in the country, with heavy penalties even for first-time offenders.Possession of any illegal drug, even for personal use, is a crime. The severity depends on the type and amount of drug. For example:

  • Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Possession of cocaine, heroin, or meth is a felony punishable by 2-10 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
  • Possession with intent to distribute any drug is a felony with even harsher penalties, up to life in prison.

Drug trafficking, which involves possessing, distributing, or manufacturing large quantities of drugs, is an extremely serious offense. Penalties can include decades in prison and six-figure fines, not to mention asset forfeiture. Oklahoma also has a “drug court” program for some non-violent offenders. This allows them to undergo treatment and supervision instead of traditional incarceration. But it’s a rigorous program with strict requirements. If you’re facing drug charges, you need a lawyer who understands the complexities of Oklahoma’s drug laws and can navigate the system to get you the best possible outcome. That might mean challenging an unlawful search, negotiating a plea deal, or fighting for a more lenient sentence.

Property Crimes

Property crimes are offenses that involve theft, damage, or destruction of someone else‘s property. Some common examples in Oklahoma include:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
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Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
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Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
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Bee L
Bee L
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divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • Larceny (theft)
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Vandalism
  • Forgery
  • Embezzlement

The penalties for property crimes depend on the value of the property involved and the specific offense. For example:

  • Larceny of property valued at less than $500 is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail.
  • Larceny of property valued at $500-$1,000 is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
  • Burglary is a felony, with penalties ranging from 7 years to life in prison depending on the circumstances.

Robbery, which is theft by force or threat of force, is considered a violent crime and carries much harsher penalties, up to life in prison.Restitution, or repaying the victim for their losses, is often a part of the sentence for property crimes in addition to any fines or incarceration. The court can order the defendant to pay restitution as a condition of probation or parole.

DUI and Traffic Offenses

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in Oklahoma, as it is in most states. The legal blood alcohol limit is .08 for adults and .02 for drivers under 21.Penalties for DUI depend on the number of prior offenses and the driver’s blood alcohol level. A first offense is typically a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a 180-day license suspension. But if the driver‘s BAC is .15 or higher, the fine and suspension period are doubled.Repeat DUIs carry much harsher penalties, including mandatory jail time, higher fines, longer license suspensions, and the requirement to install an ignition interlock device. A second DUI within 10 years is a felony punishable by 1-5 years in prison. A third DUI is a felony punishable by 1-10 years in prison. Oklahoma also has an implied consent law, which means that by driving on the state’s roads, you consent to alcohol testing if arrested for DUI. Refusing a test results in an automatic license suspension, even if you‘re not convicted of DUI.Other serious traffic offenses in Oklahoma include:

  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • Reckless driving
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Vehicular manslaughter

These can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the circumstances and the driver‘s record. They often result in fines, license suspension, and possible jail time. If you‘re facing DUI or other serious traffic charges, it’s important to consult with an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. They can challenge the arrest, negotiate with prosecutors, and help you get your license back.

Sex Crimes and Offenses Against Children

Sex crimes and crimes against children are taken very seriously in Oklahoma, with severe penalties and lifelong consequences for those convicted. Some examples include:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Lewd or indecent acts with a child
  • Child pornography
  • Soliciting a minor for sex
  • Failure to register as a sex offender

Penalties for sex crimes depend on the specific offense and the age of the victim. Rape is punishable by 5 years to life in prison. Lewd acts with a child under 16 carries a sentence of 3-20 years. Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. In addition to prison time and fines, those convicted of certain sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders, often for life. This means their name, photo, and address are publicly available, and they face restrictions on where they can live and work. If you or a loved one is accused of a sex crime, it‘s imperative to seek legal counsel immediately. These cases are highly complex and emotionally charged, and a skilled defense attorney can make all the difference in the outcome.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious problem in Oklahoma and across the country. It involves violence or threats of violence between family or household members, including spouses, partners, and children. In Oklahoma, domestic assault and battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine. But if the victim suffers great bodily injury, or if the defendant has prior convictions, it becomes a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The state also has a mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence. This means that if police have probable cause to believe an act of domestic violence has occurred, they must arrest the primary aggressor. Victims of domestic violence can seek protective orders, also known as restraining orders, to keep the abuser away from them and their children. Violating a protective order is a crime in itself.If you‘re a victim of domestic violence, there are resources available to help you, including shelters, hotlines, and legal advocacy groups. If you’re accused of domestic violence, it’s crucial to have an attorney who can present your side of the story and protect your rights.

White Collar and Financial Crimes

White collar crimes are non-violent offenses committed for financial gain, often by professionals in the course of their occupation. Examples include:

  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Forgery
  • Money laundering
  • Tax evasion
  • Bribery

These crimes can be prosecuted under Oklahoma state law or federal law, depending on the scope of the offense and the agencies involved. Penalties can include hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences, especially in large-scale cases. For example, embezzlement of more than $25,000 is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Securities fraud can result in up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. White collar crime cases are often complex, involving extensive paper trails and financial records. They require meticulous investigation and skilled legal representation on both sides. If you’re under investigation for a white collar crime, it’s essential to involve an attorney as early as possible, even before charges are filed. They can communicate with investigators on your behalf and work to avoid or minimize charges.

Juvenile Crimes

In Oklahoma, the juvenile justice system handles cases involving defendants under the age of 18. The goal is rehabilitation rather than punishment, but serious crimes can still result in significant consequences. Juvenile cases are heard in special juvenile courts, and records are generally sealed to protect the child’s privacy. But some offenses, like murder or rape, can result in the juvenile being charged as an adult and facing adult penalties.Common juvenile crimes include:

  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism
  • Drug possession
  • Underage drinking
  • Assault
  • Truancy

Penalties can include probation, community service, counseling, and detention in a juvenile facility. But the focus is on addressing the underlying issues and preventing future offenses. If your child is accused of a crime, it‘s important to take it seriously and involve an attorney who specializes in juvenile law. They can protect your child’s rights and work to get the best possible outcome, which may include diversion programs or alternative sentencing.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

As you can see, navigating Oklahoma‘s criminal justice system is no easy feat. The stakes are high, and the consequences can be life-altering. That‘s why, if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, one of the most important decisions you can make is hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney. But how do you choose the right one? Here are some tips:

  1. Look for experience. You want an attorney who has handled cases similar to yours and knows the ins and outs of the local court system.
  2. Check their credentials. Make sure they are licensed to practice in Oklahoma and are in good standing with the state bar association.
  3. Read reviews and ask for referrals. See what former clients have to say about their experience and results.
  4. Schedule a consultation. Most criminal defense attorneys offer free initial consultations where you can discuss your case and get a sense of their communication style and strategy.
  5. Trust your gut. You need to feel comfortable with your attorney and confident in their ability to represent you.

Remember, your attorney is your advocate and your lifeline in a criminal case. They can:

  • Investigate the charges and evidence against you
  • Identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case
  • Negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or a plea deal
  • Represent you at trial and present your defense
  • Advocate for a lenient sentence if convicted

Don’t try to go it alone. The criminal justice system is complex and unforgiving, and you need an experienced guide by your side.

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