Frequently Asked Questions
Arrest in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, this initial interaction must be brief in duration and limited in scope to the reasonably suspected criminal conduct. However, any criminal conduct in “plain view”, seen with the police officer’s own eyes, can be investigated. Additionally, police cannot detain a suspect for a long period of time on mere “articulable suspicion.” Probable Cause is required to make an arrest in Oklahoma and anywhere else in the United States.
In order to arrest a suspect, police must have “specific facts” leading a reasonable person to believe a crime has occurred. Arrests cannot be made on suspicion alone.
In order to search a location, law enforcement officers/police must have sufficient facts and/or evidence that a crime has occurred in that location. In order to obtain a warrant, the search warrant must list a particular place and reason why a search should be allowed. There is a specific prohibition in the 4th Amendment of “General Warrants.”
In order to seize property, law enforcement officers/police must be able to articulate, explain, their belief a particular item is contraband, illegal.
In order to issue a search warrant, law enforcement officers/police must present a detached, uninterested, judge a crime has occurred in the past at a specific location or evidence of a previous or ongoing crime exists at a specific location. The warrant is invalid, unless it states the location to be searched and the specific items to be seized.
Police do not have the authority to arrest or seize persons or things, unless a reasonable person viewing the information available to the officer would believe a crime has occurred.
When police investigate a felony crime and plan a felony arrest ahead of time, during or after an investigation, they must obtain an arrest warrant from a judge prior to arresting a felony suspect. A Judge in Oklahoma will not sign an arrest warrant unless the judge believes probable cause exists to make a felony arrest.
“Officer safety” is unfortunately an overused basis for requesting a “No Knock” warrant; however, judges in Oklahoma are tasked to protect the citizens. Additional the war on drugs has led to an exponential growth in requests and grants of “No Knock” warrants.
Police must have evidence amounting to at the very least probable cause to make an arrest, seize property, or search property, including a home, a vehicle, or container. Police cannot request a warrant based solely on their opinion; there must be evidence of a crime.
I have had cases dismissed based on the issue of an officer not have jurisdiction to arrest an individual; however, this is the exception, not the norm.
Decline to meet law enforcement or detectives for an “interview” or questioning, until you appear with your Oklahoma criminal defense attorney.
When a warrant is pending for your arrest you should contact your Oklahoma criminal defense attorney to coordinate or arrange your surrender. You should comply with the arrest process, but you should refuse to speak to police. Remain completely silent concerning the facts of your case and your innocence or guilt.
Bond and Bail in Oklahoma
1. The seriousness of the crime charged against the defendant, the apparent likelihood of conviction and the extent of the punishment prescribed by the Legislature;
2. The defendant’s criminal record, if any, and previous record on bail if any;
3. His reputation, and mental condition;
4. The length of his residence in the community;
5. His family ties and relationships;
6. His employment status, record of employment and his financial condition;
7. The identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for defendant’s reliability;
8. Any other factors indicating defendant’s mode of life, or ties to the community or bearing on the risk of failure to appear.
Judges in Oklahoma are tasked with considering the above listed factors in order to determine bond in criminal cases and the appropriate amount of bond.
Criminal Court Process in Oklahoma
What is reasonable doubt mean? In Oklahoma state court judges and lawyers are prohibited from defining reasonable doubt; however, the principle comes directly from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and is should not be taken lightly. Your chosen criminal defense attorney’s ability to explain or emphasize this high burden to a jury is an important step in your road to freedom or exoneration.
Prosecutors are responsible for all aspects of criminal prosecution from reviewing potential cases with police or investigators, to decided what, if any criminal charges to file, to developing the case, and eventually resolving the case with criminal defense attorneys or trying the case in both jury and bench trials.
Motions are a very useful tool in criminal defense in Oklahoma. They allow your criminal defense attorney to test the strength and legality of the prosecution’s evidence before trial. Motions allow your criminal defense attorney to identify and limit the issues to be decided at your criminal trial. Motions allow your criminal defense attorney to challenge the conduct of police and law enforcement as well as compel officers and agents to testify in court before trial, which may give your criminal defense attorney the opportunity to identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, credibility issues with government witnesses, and the ability of government witnesses to testify in court. A criminal defense attorney able to skillfully craft, draft, and argue motions plays a major role in the success of your criminal defense.
Well over ninety-five percent of criminal cases are resolved by some type of plea agreement; however, the quality of the agreement you reach and the speed, which you are able to work through the criminal process is largely affected by the caliber criminal defense attorney you hire in your case.
Alford pleas are used in Oklahoma, but rarely agreed to by criminal prosecutors. You should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to explore this option in your case.
The Cannon Law Firm, PLLC, can help you and your family. I will Fight for Your Rights. I can be reached by calling 405-888-7369 or through my Contact page. All initial consultations are free and confidential.