Oklahoma Domestic Violence
Domestic violence or domestic abuse in Oklahoma typically involves acts of assault and battery occurring between intimate partners, family members or members of the same household. Most first offense domestic abuse crimes are charged as misdemeanors under Oklahoma criminal law. However, subsequent domestic abuse offenses, acts of domestic assault and battery that result in great bodily injury to the alleged victim and those that are carried out by use of a deadly weapon can result in felony charges punishable by many years in prison or possibly even a life sentence upon conviction. If you have been charged with domestic abuse in Oklahoma, whether you committed the crime or not, you need a knowledgeable Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer on your side to protect your rights. Crimes against intimate partners, family members and household members are aggressively prosecuted and punished in Oklahoma and your best defense against domestic abuse charges is the expertise of a reputable domestic violence defense attorney.
Oklahoma Domestic Violence Laws
For the purpose of obtaining a domestic violence protective order, Oklahoma’s Protection from Domestic Abuse Act and Domestic Abuse Reporting Act defines domestic abuse as any act of physical harm or the threat of imminent physical harm perpetrated by an adult, emancipated minor or minor 13 years of age or older against another adult, emancipated minor or minor child who is a family or household member or in a dating relationship with the accused (Okla. Stat. § 22-60.1). For the purpose of pursuing criminal charges against a person accused of committing domestic abuse, Oklahoma’s assault and battery laws cover acts of abuse perpetrated against a current or former partner or a family or household member (Okla. Stat. § 21-644(C)). Each state has its own laws regarding who qualifies as family and household members. In Oklahoma, this includes any of the following individuals:
- Spouses and ex-spouses,
- Present spouses of ex-spouses,
- Foster parents,
- People related by blood or marriage,
- People living in the same household,
- People who formerly lived in the same household,
- Biological parents of the same child (regardless of their marital status or living situation), and
- People currently or formerly involved in a dating relationship.
Penalties for Domestic Abuse in Oklahoma
Acts of domestic abuse in Oklahoma are prosecuted under the state’s criminal statutes for assault and battery. As defined in Okla. Stat. §§ 21-641 and 21-642, the crime of assault involves any “willful and unlawful attempt or offer with force or violence to do a corporal hurt to another,” while battery involves any “willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” In other words, an assault is an attempt to commit battery, while battery is the actual act of causing physical harm or bodily injury to another person.
Okla. Stat. § 21-644(C) contains the penalties for assault and battery against an intimate partner, dating partner or family or household member, otherwise known as domestic abuse. According to this law, any person found guilty of committing assault and battery against a protected family or household member as noted above faces a possible penalty of imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term of one year and/or a fine of up to $5,000. For a second or subsequent offense, the punishment for domestic abuse includes possible imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a maximum term of four years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
The penalties for Oklahoma domestic abuse are far more severe than those imposed upon defendants found guilty of committing assault and battery offenses against strangers. Okla. Stat. § 21-644(A) states that the crime of assault against any unprotected person shall by punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a maximum term of 30 days and/or a fine of up to $500. Under Okla. Stat. § 21-644(B), the crime of assault and battery against a person who is not an intimate partner or family or household member is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a maximum term of 90 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Enhanced Penalties for Oklahoma Domestic Abuse
There are certain circumstances that can result in enhanced penalties for Oklahoma domestic abuse offenses. For instance, if an act of domestic abuse causes great bodily injury to the alleged victim, the offender faces a felony charge carrying a possible penalty of imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a maximum term of 10 years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term of one year (Okla. Stat. § 21-644(F)).
Pursuant to Okla. Stat. § 21-644(D)(1), “Any person who, with intent to do bodily harm and without justifiable or excusable cause, commits any assault, battery, or assault and battery upon an intimate partner or a family or household member with any sharp or dangerous weapon, upon conviction, is guilty of domestic assault or domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.” This is a felony offense punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a maximum term of 10 years or by imprisonment in a county jail for a maximum term of one year.
Any person accused of shooting an intimate partner or family or household member with any deadly weapon that is likely to cause death faces charges for domestic assault and battery with a deadly weapon. This is a felony offense punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections.
Contact an Experienced OK Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
As you can see, the criminal penalties for domestic assault and battery in Oklahoma are far more severe than those attached to assault and battery offenses that do not involve an intimate partner or family or household member. If you have been arrested for domestic abuse in Oklahoma, it is in your best interest to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney who understands the intricacies of Oklahoma domestic violence laws and can put together the strongest possible defense on your behalf. The stakes are extremely high any time you are facing domestic assault and battery charges in Oklahoma, so don’t wait to call.