What Are The Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Conviction In Oklahoma
Not only is domestic violence a serious criminal offense in Oklahoma, but a conviction also carries a social stigma and can detrimentally impact many aspects of an individual’s life. If convicted of domestic violence, you can lose your freedom in lengthy prison sentences, alongside substantial fines.
Beyond the criminal penalties, individuals convicted of domestic violence lose their right to carry a firearm and can even lose their right to vote. Once convicted, many people face losing their job, problems finding a home or place to live, and can even lose custody of their children.
Cannon & Associates understand just how much is at stake when our clients face domestic violence charges in Oklahoma. We know the far-reaching impact of a conviction on our clients’ lives, and we will fight aggressively to protect them from these impacts. Our highly recommended attorneys are fierce advocates for our clients’ rights and freedom throughout their cases.
To give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding a domestic violence conviction and the life-changing consequences it can bring, contact Cannon & Associates today. As one of the top-reviewed law firms in Oklahoma, we are here to help you secure the best possible outcome against domestic violence charges. To book a free consultation and strategy session, contact us today at 405-591-3935.
Domestic Abuse Charges In Oklahoma
Domestic abuse in Oklahoma is the act of assault or assault and battery against a member of the household or a current or former intimate partner. The act of assault does not always have to include causing physical harm to another. You could face a domestic abuse charge for making threats or attempting to engage in physical abuse.
A first offense of domestic abuse in Oklahoma is usually a misdemeanor charge, provided there are no aggravating factors. A second or subsequent offense is a felony charge and carries harsher penalties. Domestic abuse against a pregnant woman or domestic abuse resulting in great bodily injury are more severe charges that often carry substantial prison sentences.
For an individual to be charged with domestic abuse involving great bodily harm or injury, the alleged victim must suffer more serious injuries than in a standard domestic abuse offense. Injuries such as severe head injuries and broken bones or injuries that result in visible scarring or disfigurement or loss of function of a body part are likely to result in a great bodily harm charge.
Other serious domestic violence offenses include domestic abuse by strangulation and domestic assault or domestic assault and battery with a dangerous or deadly weapon. These are both felony charges with potentially lengthy prison sentences, up to life in prison.
Who Can Domestic Violence Be Committed Against?
For a charge of domestic abuse, an individual must commit an act of assault or assault and battery against a household member or someone with some form of intimate relationship to them. This can include:
- A current or former spouse.
- Anyone you have had a dating relationship with, currently or previously.
- The parent of your children.
- Any blood relative to you.
- Any relative by marriage to you.
- Your foster parent.
- Anyone you have lived with or currently live with.
- A spouse of your former spouse.
Criminal Penalties For Domestic Violence In Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, domestic violence charges carry harsh penalties if convicted. Alongside incarceration in county jail or prison and fines, additional penalties an individual might face for domestic violence include probation, domestic abuse courses, anger management classes, and community service.
For a first-offense domestic abuse misdemeanor conviction, with no aggravating factors, an individual could face up to one year in jail. The amount of time in prison increases with a second or subsequent offense. Any offense after an initial domestic abuse offense is a potential felony conviction, punishable by up to four years in prison.
Aggravating factors, such as if the incident occurred in front of a child or involved a weapon, can also increase the severity of penalties an individual may face. Domestic abuse committed against a pregnant woman is punishable by up to one year in jail for a first offense and up to ten years in prison for a subsequent conviction. If the assault results in a miscarriage, an individual could face up to 20 years in prison.
Potential prison sentences for a domestic assault involving strangulation or a dangerous weapon are severe. A first-time strangulation offense is punishable by one to three years in prison and three to ten years for a second or subsequent offense. Domestic assault with a dangerous weapon usually carries between one to ten years in prison. However, if the weapon involved is a firearm and the victim is shot, the penalty can be up to life in prison.
A first-offense domestic abuse conviction can carry a fine of up to $5,000 in addition to jail time. For many domestic violence convictions, individuals can expect a fine of up to $5,000. Some exceptions to this apply. For example, a second or subsequent offense of domestic abuse in front of a child carries a potential fine of up to $7,000. Similarly, the possible fine for a second or subsequent offense of domestic abuse by strangulation is up to $20,000, in addition to substantial prison time.
Alongside the standard fines that an individual can face if convicted of a domestic abuse offense in Oklahoma, you may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim, which can be a substantial financial cost.
Permanent Criminal Record
If convicted of any domestic violence offense in Oklahoma, this will be reflected on your permanent criminal record. Although in some situations, a misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction could be expunged from your record after a certain period of time, felony convictions will stay on your criminal record for life with no possibility to seal or expunge them.
The main option to avoid a permanent domestic abuse mark on your criminal record is to avoid a conviction. If your charges are dropped or your case is dismissed, or you receive a deferred sentence from the court, you could be eligible to expunge the charge from your record. The impact of a domestic abuse offense on your criminal record can be significant and will likely be detrimental to many aspects of your future.
Other Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Conviction
The consequences of a conviction for domestic abuse in Oklahoma can be far-reaching and impact almost every aspect of your day-to-day life. Likely your family life, where you live, your job, and your finances can all be affected.
Similarly, felony domestic violence convictions will mean you lose the right to vote, can’t hold public office, and can no longer carry or own firearms. Additionally, domestic violence crimes often bring a certain stigma in society, and if convicted, individuals can suffer from discrimination and a damaged reputation in their community.
Aside from the penalties enforced by the Oklahoma criminal justice system, the impact of a domestic violence charge on an individual’s family life can be one of the largest areas for concern following conviction.
A domestic violence conviction can exclude individuals from many aspects of family life. For example, it is unlikely that an individual will be permitted to foster or adopt a child if they have a domestic violence conviction on their record. Similarly, an application to foster or adopt a child may be denied if an individual with a domestic violence conviction lives in the same residence the child would be homed in.
Additionally, it is likely that a domestic violence conviction could be used against you in child custody proceedings. Your child’s parent could use your conviction to argue for sole custody, and a court may rule against you if they believe this is in your child’s best interests. Often a domestic violence conviction can sway a Judge to favor the other parent during custody proceedings, as they may decide that the parent with the conviction cannot provide a safe environment for the child.
Similarly, a conviction for domestic abuse could also factor into your divorce proceedings and negatively impact you and the outcome of your divorce, particularly the final settlement. For example, in some situations, a Judge may consider both spouses’ behavior during a marriage when deciding upon the division of marital property and allocating spousal support payments. It is possible that your former spouse could use your conviction for domestic abuse to their advantage to argue for a larger split of the marital estate and to support their claims for spousal support payments.
Although a Judge will not use a divorce settlement to punish a spouse with a history of domestic abuse, they will aim to ensure that the final settlement is fair and equitable. This allows the Judge to use their discretion to divide assets in a manner that they deem fair to both parties. A Judge may believe that the abused spouse missed work and could have lost financial resources because of the abuse and may adjust the settlement in their favor to reflect this. Similarly, spousal support or alimony payments could be awarded to the abused spouse if the domestic violence impacted their finances and ability to support themselves.
Many individuals with a domestic violence conviction on their record struggle to find employment. Often, employers conduct background checks as part of the application process, or applicants are required to report any convictions when they apply. Some professions will disqualify potential candidates with criminal convictions. This is most common in professions of a sensitive nature or those involving vulnerable people, such as doctors, law enforcement, government jobs, care workers, teachers, and child day care staff. Ineligibility is often more apparent for violent and felony crimes.
Although other lines of work may not immediately disqualify a candidate based on their criminal history, a conviction can still hinder your ability to gain employment. Often, a conviction will make a potential employee less desirable or less competitive than similar candidates with no convictions. As a result, although the candidate was not immediately disqualified because of their criminal record, essentially, it is still the reason they weren’t offered a position.
In addition, the restrictions imposed on individuals as a consequence of a domestic violence conviction can also have a detrimental effect on job opportunities. For example, the prohibition of convicted individuals from carrying a firearm could impact a job. This can be particularly challenging for members of the military who can’t carry a firearm if convicted of domestic abuse. As such, this can result in them being unable to perform the duties required within their role, and they can subsequently lose their job.
Furthermore, some felony convictions can cause a convicted individual to lose their professional license. In this situation, an individual may be unable to continue practicing in the profession that required the license.
Finding A Home
Most landlords will conduct a criminal background check on prospective tenants before allowing an individual to rent their property. If you are looking for a home to rent, your domestic abuse conviction could count against you. Many landlords will not look kindly at potential tenants with any criminal conviction. The sometimes violent nature, alongside the social stigma of domestic abuse charges, means that most landlords are particularly unlikely to rent their property to anyone with domestic violence in their criminal history.
Additionally, a conviction can cause complications if you are looking to borrow money. You could be looking to borrow money from a bank for a mortgage to buy a home or take out a loan to buy a car. Regardless, financial lenders often view individuals with criminal convictions as high risk, and many lenders will deny applications based on a criminal record.
How To Avoid A Domestic Violence Conviction In Oklahoma
The State of Oklahoma prosecutes domestic violence cases aggressively. Representation from an expert domestic violence defense lawyer is essential to give you the best chance of avoiding conviction or securing a lesser charge. A skilled attorney will review the case against you and build a counterargument to dispute the prosecution’s case. Your attorney will seek other admissible direct evidence to support your defense, such as witness testimony and medical reports.
In addition to building your defense and fighting for your rights in the courtroom and throughout your case, a skilled attorney can use their negotiation skills to help your case. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, your lawyer could negotiate a lesser sentence with the prosecution, such as a misdemeanor charge, as opposed to a felony. This carries lesser penalties and possible jail time and may also be able to be expunged from your record in the future.
Alternatively, an experienced domestic violence lawyer could negotiate a deferred or suspended sentence, which will keep you out of prison and will likely be less problematic to your future than a domestic violence conviction.
Domestic Violence Defenses
There are a range of defenses a reputable defense attorney can use to your benefit in your domestic violence case when applicable. These include the following:
- Self-defense – If the alleged victim was threatening you or subjecting you to physical abuse or harm, it could be argued that you acted in self-defense. This could also apply if the alleged physical abuse occurred because you feared for your own safety or the safety of your children.
- Unintentional or accidental harm – For a domestic violence conviction, the prosecution must prove that you acted with intent to harm the victim. If the victim was injured as a result of an accident, as opposed to an intentional act, the prosecution may not be able to secure a conviction.
- The credibility of witnesses – As with any criminal charge, the prosecution must prove that you are guilty beyond all reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. If the witnesses used in the prosecution’s case are of questionable credibility, or if their statement has changed throughout the course of your case, this could be grounds to dispute the prosecution’s case and raise reasonable doubt.
- Procedural errors – All criminal cases require law enforcement and officials working within the justice system to follow strict procedures and processes. This ensures that an individual’s rights are respected and evidence is handled appropriately to avoid contamination. A skilled lawyer will examine every detail of the prosecution’s case against you and how your case has been managed for any errors in procedure. These errors could be leveraged to have your charges dropped and your case dismissed.
Cannon & Associates: Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys. Book Your Free Consultation To Start Your Defense
Unfortunately, a domestic violence conviction can permanently change your life. If you are facing charges of domestic violence, securing skilled legal representation as soon as possible is crucial.
At Cannon & Associates, our team of fierce advocates understands the magnitude of domestic violence charges and how they can impact our clients’ lives. Our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to fighting aggressively to protect our clients and their freedom, no matter how challenging the case.
Every domestic violence case is different. Our extensive expertise allows us to adapt and develop a tailored strategy to give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction or securing substantially reduced penalties.
The State of Oklahoma takes domestic violence offenses very seriously and prosecutes convictions aggressively. To secure the best outcome possible, you need a domestic violence attorney with experience and knowledge of the Oklahoma court system and cases similar to yours. With more 5-star reviews than 99% of lawyers in Oklahoma, you can rest assured that your freedom is in safe hands if you are represented by Cannon & Associates. Our team has the knowledge, resources, and passion to advocate for your rights and reduce the likelihood of a domestic violence conviction impacting the rest of your life.
Facing domestic violence charges can be daunting, and it can be hard to know where to start with your defense. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Cannon & Associates attorney today to discuss your options and fight for your freedom. Contact our legal team at 405-591-3935 to book.
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