FAQ | Criminal Law
Frequently Asked Questions
Will i go to jail?
If you have arrived at this question after asking yourself “Will I go to jail” you need to know that there is hope.
For most people, this is the scariest question. The good news is that for most people, the answer is no. If you are facing a misdemeanor or a non violent felony and you don’t have a long criminal record, you likely will not go to jail. However, there is always that risk. Also, because your final sentence is up the judge, there are no guarantees. You should never be under the false impression that you have no defense and should just confess without an attorney. You should never give a statements or information to law enforcement without first speaking to an attorney. The criminal procedure world is filled with complex procedure and nuisances that could impact you for the rest of you life. It is imperative that you educate yourself with the most criminal procedure and law you possible can and get the best quality legal advice and representation.
Also, most first time offenders are offered deals that sound really enticing (no jail time and the worry is over). These are called suspended or deferred sentences. They sound really good, but the long term risks are very substantial. For instance, if one little requirement is not met (not paying fees on time, late checking in with probation officer, or getting charged with another crime) the the state will move to revoke that sentence and you could then be placed in jail for the remainder of the term. Before you take a plea deal, please speak with a criminal defense attorney that will take the time to discuss your case and educate you on the pitfalls, risks, and benefits of suspended and deferred sentences.
Lastly, if you are in a situation where you see no hope in your defense, you might be very surprised as what can be done for your case. Criminal law, procedure and rules of evidence are very complex and the state must prove your guilt beyond all reasonable doubt and the verdict must be unanimous. That presents an incredible burden for the state (even with the high levels of juror biased and the common perception of “guilty until proven innocent”) there are many many cases that receive not-guilty jury verdicts – so don’t give up hope and get your self the right criminal defense attorney for you and your case.
Continue reading about Oklahoma criminal defense law here, click here to contact us, or click here to learn more about our Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys.
What's the difference between probation and parole?
Probation is a type of criminal sentence that allows a person to stay in the community rather than serve time in prison, as long as certain conditions are complied with, such as regularly reporting to a probation officer, refraining from alcohol and drugs and not committing further crimes. Parole is the supervised release of a prisoner from incarceration into the community before the end of his or her sentence. Conditions of parole are similar to those of probation.
What's the difference between probation and parole?
White collar crime generally refers to nonviolent financial crimes involving fraud or other dishonesty committed in business or commercial contexts. Examples include insider trading, embezzlement and tax evasion.
What is the role of a prosecutor?
The prosecutor is the attorney who represents the federal, state or local government in a case against a criminal defendant. The title of the prosecutor varies by jurisdiction, but some common titles include district attorney, county attorney, city attorney, United States attorney and state attorney. The prosecutor has the public duty to punish those committing crimes, balanced with the duty to fairly try such individuals.
What is a felony?
A felony is a crime which carries a punishment of at least one year and one day in jail.
If I am innocent, why do I need a lawyer?
Innocent people do get accused of committing crimes every day. Also, people who may have committed one crime often get accused (sometimes wrongfully) of committing additional, and more serious crimes. As the accused, you have a constitutional right to counsel. You are always better off having a lawyer learn about the accusation, discuss it with you, and develop a strategy for responding to the charge.
Even if you wholeheartedly believe you are innocent, NEVER EVER NEVER talk to the police, investigator, prosecutor until you have legal counsel…Don’t take my word for it, listen to the thousands of people wrongfully convicted and sitting in jail.
What is the potential range of punishment for drug trafficking in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is known to be one of the harshest states for punishing those charged with trafficking illegal drugs. To most “trafficking” means a large mastermind intent to distribute illegal drugs to others – unfortunately, Oklahoma defines “trafficking” on weight of the drugs alone…and the threshold weight which triggers the trafficking punishment is so small that it can easily be actually intended for personal use.
At the present time the minimum range of punishment for trafficking illegal drugs is as follows:
1: Cocaine – minimum 10 years to life, fines of $25,000 – $500,000. (greater weight/priors carries higher minimum and fines)
2: Marijuana – minimum 4 years to life, fines of $25,000 – $500,000. (greater weight/priors carries higher minimum and fines)
3: Meth – minimum 4 years to life, fines of $25,000 – $500,000. (greater weight/priors carries higher minimum and fines)
The really bad news is that there are no “earned credits” available. This means the person convicted of trafficking will serve at least 90% of the actual sentence. If the actual weight of the drugs is significant or the defendant has prior convictions then the minimum time to serve could be up to 20 years.
If you are charged with trafficking illegal drugs in Oklahoma then it is crucial that you contact an aggressive drug trafficking defense attorney well versed in sentencing pitfalls and complex search and seizure laws.
What is a "consent search"?
A consent search is a search conducted with the permission of the person having authority over the premises or property searched. Searches conducted with consent are effective without a warrant and in the absence of probable cause. If the state can prove that consent to the search was voluntarily given, there is no reason to prove either that the searchers possessed a warrant or that probable cause existed for the search.
The criminal courts in Oklahoma have ruled that consent searches are both as an exception to the warrant requirement and as a waiver of the right to demand a warrant to conduct the search. Whether the consent was given by the defendant challenging the search, or by a third person, it must be “voluntary” to be effective. “Voluntariness” does not require that the consent be “knowing” in the sense that a person was aware of the right to refuse to consent to the search. Rather, the controlling question is whether, considering the “totality of the circumstances,” the consent was voluntary. Factors to be considered are: (1) the existence of detention; (2) an awareness of the right to refuse; (3) a perception that the search is inevitable irrespective of the giving of consent; (4) physical or mental impairment; (5) coercion; (6) a “rational” motive to consent; and (7) the time of giving consent.
Can a traffic stop continue after I've been given a ticket or warning?
Complicated answer – Yes, only under certain conditions.
In order to continue the encounter after a warning or ticket, there generally has two be one of two things happen: (1) the law enforcement officer had reasonable articulable suspicion of other crimes to justify prolonging the traffic stop for further investigation; or, (2) the driver continued the encounter consensually. “A driver must be permitted to proceed after a routine traffic stop if a license and registration check reveals no reason to detain the driver unless the officer has reasonable articulable suspicion of other crimes or the driver voluntarily consents.” See State v. Goins, 2004 OK CR 5, 84 P.3d at 770.
Consensual encounters are not Fourth Amendment seizures since they involve the mere voluntary cooperation with an officer’s non-coercive questioning. In the context of traffic stops, the Supreme Court has held: “The police may detain a driver longer than necessary for the initial stop with consent.” See State v. Goins, 2004 OK CR 5, ¶ 17, 84 P.3d 767, 770.To determine whether an encounter was consensual, courts consider if a reasonable person would have felt free to leave considering the totality of the circumstances. Id. at ¶ 18, 84 P.3d at 770. A “consensual encounter is the voluntary cooperation of a private citizen in response to non-coercive questioning by a law enforcement officer.” Id. at ¶ 20, 84 P.3d at 771 quoting United States v. West, 219 F.3d 1171, 1176 (10th Cir. 2000). Applying this test, a “traffic stop may become a consensual encounter, requiring no reasonable suspicion, if the officer returns the license and registration and asks questions without further constraining the driver by an overbearing show of authority.” Id.*6 Coffia v. State, 2008 OK CR 24, ¶ 14, 191 P.3d 594, 598. And, the Supreme Court has ruled that an officer is not required to inform a suspect that he did not have to respond to his questioning or that he was free to leave. Therefore, an unlawful detention occurs only when the driver has an ‘objective reason to believe he or she is not free to end the conversation with the officer and proceed on his or her own way. West, 219 F.3d at 1176-77.
How long can a traffic stop last?
In this sense, “the tolerable duration of police inquiries in the traffic-stop context is determined by the seizure’s ‘mission’—to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop and attend to related safety concerns.” Id., 135 S.Ct. at 1614. “Authority for the seizure thus ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are—or reasonably should have been—completed.” Id.
The United States Supreme Court has recognized that, in addition to issuing a traffic citation, “an officer’s mission includes ‘ordinary inquiries incident to [the traffic] stop’ ” like “checking the driver’s license, determining whether there are outstanding warrants against the driver, and inspecting the automobile’s registration and proof of insurance.” Id., 135 S.Ct. at 1615 (quoting Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 408, 125 S.Ct. 834, 837, 160 L. Ed. 2d 842 (2005) ). Unlike a dog sniff, which is a measure aimed at detecting criminal wrongdoing, the ordinary inquiries incident to a traffic stop are aimed at ensuring that vehicles on the road are operated in a safe and responsible manner. Id. Investigations and actions unrelated to the traffic stop—like questioning and a dog sniff—which do not lengthen the roadside detention are permissible under the Fourth Amendment. Id., 135 S.Ct. at 1614. In this sense, an officer “may conduct certain unrelated checks during an otherwise lawful traffic stop. But … he may not do so in a way that prolongs the stop, absent the reasonable suspicion ordinarily demanded to justify detaining an individual.” Id., 135 S.Ct. at 1615.
Can the police stop any driver for any reason?
Every person has a right under both the United States and Oklahoma constitutions to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Alba, 2015 OK CR 2, ¶ 5, 341 P.3d at 92 (citing U.S. Const. amend. IV; Okla. Const. art. 2, § 30). A traffic stop is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. McGaughey v. State, 2001 OK CR 33, ¶ 24, 37 P.3d 130, 136. The scope and duration of such a seizure must be related to the stop and must last no longer than is necessary to effectuate the stop’s purpose. Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 1325, 75 L. Ed. 2d 229 (1983); Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 1879, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968); McGaughey, 2001 OK CR 33, ¶¶ 24 and 27, 37 P.3d at 136-37. If the length of the investigative detention goes beyond the time necessary to reasonably effectuate the reason for the stop, the Fourth Amendment requires reasonable suspicion that the person stopped has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.
Thus, for the police office to legally stop a vehicle he must have probable cause to believe that a traffic violation had occurred. Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 809-10, 116 S.Ct. 1769, 1772, 135 L. Ed. 2d 89 (1996); Dufries v. State, 2006 OK CR 13, ¶ 8, 133 P.3d 887, 889. This is so regardless of the officer’s subjective motivation for the stop. Id., 2006 OK CR 13, ¶ 9, 133 P.3d at 889 (“Subjective intentions play no role in the ordinary probable-cause Fourth Amendment analysis.”).
There are two significant remedies available to a driver who has been unlawfully pulled over: (1) any evidence of criminality (most commonly drugs or evidence of intoxication such as a breath test) discovered as a result of the unlawful stop will be excluded at trial; and, (2) the driver may seek damages in civil court for violations of his/her constitutional rights.
What are my rights as a criminal defendant in Oklahoma?
What are my rights as a criminal suspect or a person accused of a crime?
You are granted certain rights under both the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions. Assert and protect your right by contacting Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers Compton Law Firm. Compton Law Criminal Defense attorneys can help you assert and protect your rights.
The Constitutions of the United States and Oklahoma each guarantee our citizens certain basic rights, including the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures In matters of criminal law and investigation, you must know your rights. The basics are:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to legal counsel
- The right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
- The right to subpoena witnesses
- The right to a speedy trial, free from unreasonable delays
- The right to a jury trial
- The right to due process of law
- The right to be free from double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same crime)
- The right to an appeal
Even before you are placed under arrest, the Constitution of the United States guarantees you certain rights. The following are an expanded explanation of some of the more basic rights, but it is not a complete list. You have many other constitutional rights.
Right to Remain Silent:
“I do want to cooperate, but only after I have retained an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer”
When the police ask to speak to you, you have the right to remain silent. You must know that anything and everything you say to the police will be used against you. You may talk to the police about the crime they arrested you for, but you are not required. If you do start talking to the police, you may stop talking at any time during the interview or interrogation and ask for a lawyer. Best practice is to say “I do want to cooperate but only after I have retained an Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer.” At that point the law enforcement officer must ask no more questions. You have the right to ask to have an attorney when the police want to question you. If you ask for any attorney the police cannot ask you any questions until you have spoken with an attorney. If you cannot afford to pay for an attorney, the court may appoint a lawyer to represent you if the court believes you do not have enough money to hire one.
You are not required to talk to the police when questioned about a crime. Exercise your rights – NEVER EVER NEVER give a statement without legal representation. Anything you say likely will be tape recorded or videotaped with or without your knowledge.
Right to be Represented by a Lawyer:
Right to a Lawyer: The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to have counsel before giving any statements or submitting to questioning. OUR TOP TIP AND PIECE OF ADVICE IS: Retain an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney BEFORE you make any statements to the police. This is your most significant constitutional right. Contact us now.
You have the right to have a lawyer. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you can submit the appropriate application, called “Pauper’s Affidavit,” which asks the judge to appoint a lawyer to represent you. One good reason to be represented by a lawyer is to make sure your rights have not been violated. Another reason is to ensure that you get all the evidence you need to defend yourself. Many times a lawyer knows the kind of evidence that is best suited for a good defense. Never represent yourself in Court – The best criminal defense attorneys don’t even represent themselves.
Right to Confront the Witnesses Against You:
You have the right for your lawyer to ask questions of every witness against you if you go to trial.
Right Not to be Stopped and Searched Without a Good Cause:
Law enforcement officers must have a good reason (probable cause) before they arrest you or search you or your property. In some cases the officer must first get a judge to issue a search warrant. In other cases, such as routine traffic stops for traffic violations, there must be some good reason why officers suspect you may be committing a crime before they may search without a warrant. If the police do not have an arrest or search warrant and ask to search you or your property, you have the right to refuse. You can easily say I do not consent to any search and you may lawfully refuse their request to search. If the police stop you and ask you to identify yourself or show ID, you must comply. However, after you have told the police your name you have the right to tell the officer you do not want to answer any other questions or speak with them until you have spoken with an attorney
Right to be Free From Unreasonable Searches or Seizures:
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless an officer presents proper credentials and a search warrant, do not allow any search of your body, home, garage, business, computer, car, boat or other dwelling or property.
If the police present with a valid search warrant you must comply but never consent. If there is a warrant, ask to read it. Then ask the officers if you may watch as the police search and ask to call your lawyer before the search. It is not uncommon for someone ( your spouse, children, friend, acquaintance, or stranger) to have placed or left contraband or other evidence of a crime in or on your property WITHOUT YOU KNOWING. This happens all the time!! So NEVER allow a search without a warrant. If asked whether it will be okay to search, say “no, I do not consent” and call your lawyer.
Right to Bail:
Generally, you have the right to a reasonable bail if arrested. The primary issues should be whether you are a risk of flight or a danger to the community. In Oklahoma County, there is a standard bail or bond schedule which is generally applied, but bond is occasionally denied. You do need to know that if you post bail you will be entitled to a state-paid criminal defense attorney and you would be required to hire a private one.
Right to Subpoena:
If you choose to demand a trial, you have the right to compulsory process or to subpoena witnesses, regardless of whether the witness agrees to cooperate. If you serve the witnesses with process, they must attend hearings and give testimony (thus the right of confronting your accusers). You have only a limited right to subpoena witnesses or documents at a preliminary hearing.
Right to a Speedy and Public Trial:
The Sixth Amendment guarantees a “speedy trial” without unreasonable delays. This does not mean that you receive an immediate trial, but factors are analyzed to determine whether the delay is reasonable and whether there is any prejudice caused by an unreasonable delay. Also, your trial must be open to the public (except in certain juvenile settings). It is not uncommon to waive your right to a speedy trial.
Right to a Trial by Jury:
You are entitled to a jury trial, unless both you and the government agree to a trial before the judge. If you demand a trial, a jury of six or twelve qualified persons must be empanelled to hear your case depending on whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor.
Right to a Unanimous Verdict: To be convicted, the jury must unanimously find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In most felony cases, twelve people must agree that you are guilty of the crime charged; otherwise, you cannot be found guilty. If the jury reaches an impasse, the jury may be hung or split. Under these circumstances, you can be tried again.
Right to be Free from Subsequent Trials (Double Jeopardy): The Fifth Amendment states that no person be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense. If the jury unanimously agrees that you are not guilty, then you cannot be tried again for that crime.
Right to Appeal: Generally, you have an appeal of right if you are convicted at trial. If you enter into a plea bargain or if you simply plead guilty, you may waive certain rights to appeal. You have the right to counsel on appeal and if you cannot afford an attorney, one is generally appointed for your first appeal. You generally do not have the right to counsel for second or subsequent appeals.
Right to Due Process: Generally speaking, this means that you must be given the opportunity of a fair trial or to fair procedures and that certain rights or privileges or property cannot be taken from you except under special circumstances.
Right to Equal Protection: This right is intended to give all persons, regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion or gender, the same protections or rights. In other words, no person or class of people shall be denied the protections enjoyed by others or classes in like circumstances.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
The Bill of Rights is the First Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution, and are as follows:
Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Amendment VII: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
If you are facing criminal prosecution and need a criminal defense attorney, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) so we can immediately get started on your case.
How do I get out of Jail after an arrest in Oklahoma?
How do I get out of Jail after an Arrest in Oklahoma?
TOP TIP: If you know or suspect you might be arrested, retain an attorney. Many times the criminal defense attorney can negotiate a reduced bond or an “OR” bond so that you can utilize that money to hire a criminal defense lawyer rather than paying a bail bondsman.
After requesting a lawyer, your next step after an arrest should be to get out of jail as quickly as possible. Generally, your bail amount will be set by the judge and you have several available methods for getting out of jail:
- Post a cash bond – Pay the bond yourself to ensure that you meet all court appearances. If you successfully appear for all court dates, your bond will be returned to you at the end of your case. If you fail to appear, you forfeit your bond and may be required to return to jail pending the resolution of your case.
- Hire a bail bondsman – A bail bondsman may post bond for you in return for a percentage of the bond amount. At the end of your case, the bond will be returned to the bondsman and you forfeit the amount paid to the bondsman. If you ever fail to appear for your court dates, the bondsman will send a bounty hunter to find you and return you to jail
- Be released on an Own Recognizance Bond – If a jail is at capacity, you have been arrested on a complaint of a minor offense, and/or you have no history of failure to appear, a booking officer may release you on your own recognizance. In this case, you do not have to post a cash bond, but you may be returned to jail or be required to pay a significant bond if you fail to appear.
In the most serious cases, a judge may order a defendant to be held without bond. In other cases, your defense attorney may be able to successfully motion for a reduced bond amount.
If you need an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney to help get you or a loved one out of jail, call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).
What should I do after I have been arrested in Oklahoma?
What should I do after I have been arrested in Oklahoma?
Hire an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney: Immediately and BEFORE you make any Statements. You have a constitutional right to remain silent and a right to counsel. If you know you are being investigated, hire and attorney prior to Arrest. Call Compton Law at 405-542-2529, if we can’t help you we can recommend someone that can. contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).
AT MINIMUM: If you are placed under arrest, it is important that you do not resist arrest, as your resistance can only lead to further criminal charges and additional complications. Rather, be cooperative but protect your right to remain silent. Do not say anything to investigators or police without first consulting your attorney. Ask to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can provide skillful legal counsel from the outset of your case and can help you avoid making critical mistakes that could jeopardize your defense.
Be polite and respectful with police: Being rude and argumentative will not help you at this point – and if you disrespect or upset the police officer you are only making things worse. There is no need to complain about the stop or arrest or ague with the police. You need to stay calm and control your emotions.
Ask if you are under arrest: If you are under arrest, you have the right to be notified of why you have been arrested. Also ask for the officer’s name and badge number and remember the patrol car number if possible.
Do NOT give a voluntary statement: You are NOT required to talk to the police when questioned about a crime. Exercise your rights because you cannot be prosecuted for refusing to give a statement, but you can be prosecuted for giving a false or misleading statement. If you give a statement, it can be used against you. The Miranda warnings do NOT apply to voluntary statements. If you are not under arrest or otherwise “in custody,” then those statements can be used against you even without reading the Miranda warnings (“your rights”) to you. Anything you say likely will be tape recorded or videotaped with or without your knowledge. To avoid problems and legal fees later, don’t give any voluntary statements. Likewise, do NOT discuss facts of an alleged crime with family members, friends, co-workers, spouses, children, your accountant, etc. There is no privilege to protect your statements to these persons, so exercise your right to silence. In the vast majority of cases, giving a statement to the police only serves to either secure a confession or give them the evidence needed to arrest you…whether you realize it or not.
NEVER resist arrest or touch the officer: Resisting arrest will never ever help you and it will only add more charges and make your legal situation more difficult and costly for you and your lawyer. Never touch or threaten the officer, as the police will add “assault & battery on an officer” charges, which alone carries significant punishment. Do NOT run. If you run, innocent or not, the jury can be told you fled the scene. Moreover, if someone is injured or killed in your pursuit you can be criminally and civilly liable.
Do NOT interfere with or obstruct the police but don’t Assist: Don’t consent to a search, but do not interfere either. You do not have to confront the officer to protect your rights, it is easy enough to say I”I understand you have to do your job, but I do not consent to a search.” On the other hand, you do not want to interrupt or interfere with the officer while he/she is interviewing others or searching. Generally speak only when asked (see above–do not give a voluntary statement) and do not assist in showing items or documents or explaining what happened. Do NOT attempt to obstruct the officers in their duties or to destroy evidence or contraband. Interfering or obstruction an officer in his official duty is a separate crime.
Do NOT allow searches or seizures: The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless an officer presents proper credentials and a search warrant, NEVER allow any search of your body, home, garage, business, computer, car, boat or other dwelling or conveyance or property. ONLY when the police have a valid search warrant signed by a judge is it appropriate to give permission to search. If there is a warrant, ask to read the papers before granting permission so that you know the scope of the warrant. Then ask the officers if you may watch as they search and ask to call your lawyer before the search. You never know whether your spouse, children or perhaps a friend or acquaintance (or even a stranger) may have placed or left contraband or other evidence of a crime in or on your property. Police Officer’s are very well trained in attempting to overcome your initial denial of consent to search… they may use psychological tools and say things such as “it’s just a quick look and we’ll get you out of here,” or “set tight and we’ll take a quick look, you don’t mind, do you,” “since you have X, you don’t mind if I check out to see if you have Y,” “only guilty people don’t let us search and since you have noting to hide you don’t mind if we take a quick peek.” Be mindful of these tricks and maintain your position that “you understand they must do their job but you cannot consent to a warrantless search.”
Do NOT give any samples–Body Fluids, Blood, Fingerprints, Handwriting Samples, Clothing or Shoes, etc.: The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination. Just like a search, NEVER voluntarily give these samples. If asked to give these samples, call Compton Law immediately at 405-542-2529. Do NOT give samples (1) without obtaining a lawyer to represent your interest, or (2) without a court order. If you have been ordered to provide these samples you need legal representation immediately!! First, there are situations when samples simply should not be given and second you need to ensure the samples are taken properly and potentially sent for independent analysis. Forensic testing are not without fault. We have all heard about the true numerous instances where innocent people have been wrongfully convicted and even sentenced to death on bad samples. Protect your rights and do not be one of them.
DUI/DWI CASES: under Oklahoma Law you are required to give a breath or blood test during a stop for an alcohol-related offense (DUI, DWI, or APC or an injury accident). If you refuse to give a test, it will result in loss of your driver’s license and could also impact a criminal charge. There is much more to read and learn about DUI breath test under our DUI section and in our FAQS, BLOG, and LIBRARY. However, you are required to give the STATE’S TEST, you will be notified and read some information prior to giving the STATE’S TEST. The initial breath test sample in the police car IS NOT THE STATE’S TEST and you can AND SHOULD refuse to take this test.
Do NOT take a polygraph or lie-detector test: A polygraph is NOT admissible in court. Giving a polygraph test will only serve to gather additional evidence against you and damage your case. Even if you think you have noting to hide and “pass” a polygraph, the police will not necessarily clear you. In fact, they will probably just add certain things they learned to their investigative report.
Do NOT talk to the press or give interviews: Consult your attorney BEFORE talking to the press or giving interviews. Your attorney must strategically weigh the options before commenting on the facts. There are times when it may be appropriate and recommended to cooperate with the press, but timing is everything. If contacted by media, you naturally will want to “clear” your name. Simply say “My attorney will not let me comment, thank you”
Be truthful with your attorney: Your attorney cannot help you unless the attorney knows the facts…ALL THE FACTS. It is human nature not to want to admit certain things we have done, but withholding information from your attorney is one of the most damaging things you can do to your case. Your attorney will deploy certain strategies based on what he/she has learned and what you have told. Intentional misinformation almost always comes to light down the road during the case and results in your attorney being surprised at inopportune times, such as during a hearing, deposition or trial. You’ve hired an attorney to provide the best possible defense for you and its best to fully inform that attorney so that he/she can provide the best possible strategy.
How are Oklahoma Criminal Plea Deals Negotiated?
Unfortunately, there is no Constitutional right nor a statutory right to a plea agreement. However, the reality of the Oklahoma criminal process is that the vast majority of criminal cases MUST end in a plea bargain. If every criminal case was taken to a jury the system would collapse. Moreover, many criminal defendants simply cannot afford a trial.
Regardless of guilt or innocence, there are many reasons why a plea agreement is made. The old saying is true – it is not whether the defendant is guilty, it’s what can be proven at trial. Plea negotiations are generally a hedge against the unknown. Do you take what is known and on the table or do you place your future and freedom in the hands of a jury – many people elect to take the known. In the majority of cases, very soon in the case a prosecuting attorney will make “recommendations” which are what he would offer to resolve the case for and recommend to the judge should the defendant plead guilty or no-contest.
Compton Law Firm makes an effort to identify the initial recommendations early in the process and then we undertake a defense and investigation of the case. When then utilize our defense strategies to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to reduce the recommendations or dismiss the charges. During the process we communicate the prosecution’s response to our clients so we can make an informed decision to either accept the plea deal or proceed on to trial.
What is a Bind Over Order in Oklahoma criminal proceedings?
If the judge presiding over the preliminary hearing finds the prosecution has met its burden, then the judge will issue a “bind over” order. The Defendant will then have to appear for District Court Arraignment in front of the District Judge assigned to his or her case. It is important to note that the burden of proof for the prosecution here is probable cause, which is very very low. Preliminary hearings almost always result in the defendant being bound over for trial – not a defendant’s case being dismissed. Even if the case is dismissed, the prosecution will likely just go back to the drawing board, get more evidence, and re-file the case. However, the Preliminary hearing is a unique opportunity for the defense to get a good look at the evidence and understand how the state’s witnesses might act and present to a jury.
It is not uncommon for some Defendant’s to waive his or her Preliminary Hearing if best strategy dictates or if it would damage plea negotiations.
What happens during an Oklahoma Criminal Preliminary Hearing?
Essentially the preliminary hearing is a court hearing where witnesses testify and the judge decides whether there is enough evidence against you to order you to have a trial.
If you are charged with a felony in Oklahoma you have the right to a preliminary hearing. The Oklahoma Constitution guarantees all individuals charged by information with a felony the right to a Preliminary Hearing. A Preliminary Hearing is an evidentiary hearing in front of a judge at which the prosecution must present enough evidence to give the judge probable cause the alleged crime was committed. Specifically, the prosecutor must present enough evidence to show the court:
- probable cause that a crime was committed, and
- probable cause that the defendant committed the crime.
If the court believes there is enough evidence to believe a crime was committed and enough evidence to believe you committed the crime (probable cause), the court will “bind you over” for trial. If the court does not believe there is enough evidence, the case is dismissed. The prosecutor is not required to present all of their witnesses or all of the evidence they have collected. They are only required to present enough evidence to meet the probable cause standard. The judge, by law, must consider all the evidence in a light most favorable to the state. He must also assume the state’s case will get better by trial.
What is a preliminary hearing conference "PHC" and what happens during the PHC?
After the arraignment and attorney appearance hearing the next Oklahoma criminal hearing to take place is a preliminary hearing conference (“PHC”). Although this hearing takes place in open court it is generally just an opportunity for the prosecution and defense to discuss the case and determine whether additional plea negations should be had or whether the case should proceed to a Preliminary Hearing. It is not uncommon for there to be two or more preliminary hearing conferences.
The prosecutor may make a plea bargain offer which you and your attorney will discuss. If you decide to accept the offer, you would waive or give up your right to a trial and set your case for a date for you to plead guilty. If you do not accept the plea offer, you will have your case set for a preliminary hearing or trial.
How does criminal bail posting process work and what is a "walk-through"?
There are multiple methods one may employ to post bail. If enough funds are readily available, a Defendant can simply post cash in the full amount. The reality of the situation though is that most people are not able to post cash bond. Moreover, it is far better to utilize those cash resources to retain an attorney. The vast majority of criminal Defendants use bail bondsman. An Oklahoma bail bondsman will usually require that the Defendant post between 10% and 15% of the bail with the bail bondsman acting as a surety for the remaining amount. Many bail bond providers will also require collateral if the Defendant is not a resident of Oklahoma. If the criminal defendant does not post bail then he/she will remain in custody pending the outcome of the criminal process.
If Compton Law criminal defense lawyers are retained prior the the bail process we contact a qualified bail bondsman early and coordinate the process to have you bonded out as soon as possible. In some instances we are able to contact the Prosecuting attorney prior to arrest and coordinate a “walk-through” booking process to minimize the time spent in jail.
What happens at the initial criminal court appearance hearing?
After the individual is arrested, he or she is “booked” or processed into jail. This usually occurs at the local police station or county sheriff’s office. Many counties then have a set Bond Schedule wherein the defendant can go ahead and arrange for bail to be posted and released.
However, depending on county and the criminal charges involved, the defendant can be held over for an initial appearance or “Bond Hearing” or “Arraignment” where the judge sets bail. Certain counties, including Caddo county, do not have set bond schedules and the judge hears evidence, arguments, and sets bail.
It is important to retain counsel prior to your bond hearing. Many times counsel can reduce the bond or obtain an “OR” Own Recognizance bond which does not require a bail bondsman nor does it require putting up money or collateral. Compton Law Firm attorneys have represented many criminal defendants at bond hearings, call 405-542-2529 to arrange representation.
What are the possible resolutions to Oklahoma criminal charges
Charges are dismissed.
A verdict of not guilty constitutes an acquittal. In other words, to find a defendant not guilty is to acquit. At trial, an acquittal occurs when the jury (or the judge if it’s a judge trial) determines that the prosecution hasn’t proved the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
A courtroom trial that has been terminated prior to its normal conclusion because of some error in the proceedings. A mistrial has no legal effect and is considered invalid.
A conviction may result in either an incarceration or suspended sentence.
You are convicted of a crime and confined to jail or prison.
You are convicted of a crime but are on probation for all or part of the sentence; it is suspended so you do not have to go to prison for that amount of time, as long as you satisfy the conditions of probation. The probation may be “supervised” or “unsupervised.” If it is supervised, you must regularly report to a probation officer. If it is “unsupervised,” you simply must obey the rules of probation and not break the law. If you are unsuccessful, however, you may be sentenced to spend the entire sentence in jail or prison.
You are not convicted of a crime until you are found guilty and punished for the crime. With a deferred sentence, the judge accepts your guilty plea to the crime but postpones, delays or defers sentencing until a later date, usually several years away. If you do everything the court orders you to do, the court will dismiss your case and the charge will not appear on your court record. You may be ordered to pay all court costs and fees, see a probation officer, go to treatment and make sure you do not break the law again. If you do not successfully complete the deferred sentence requirements or if you are charged with committing a “new” crime, the Court may sentence you to jail or prison. Even if you complete your deferred probation, your arrest will still appear on the records of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation unless you obtain an expungement.
How are crimes classified in Oklahoma?
Crimes are generally classified as felonies or misdemeanors. Usually, felonies are punished by a sentence of one year or more in prison. Misdemeanors are generally punished by one year or less in a county jail. Probation is also a possibility. Under probation, a person would not serve any time in jail or prison.
How do I get my bail lowered in Oklahoma?
A Defendant can request a hearing to lower bail at any time during the criminal process. Generally, a judge will consider the following in deciding whether to lower bail:
- The offense the Defendant is charged with;
- The criminal history of the Defendant, if any;
- Whether the Defendant is a flight risk;
- Any potential danger to the public; and
- Other relevant factors the judge may deem applicable.
The main purpose of setting bail is to make sure the Defendant will appear at all required court proceedings, while also protecting the public from any potential threat of harm. Luckily, there are other restrictions that can be put in place, such as GPS ankle-monitoring, which may sway a judge into lowering bail. One factor that a judge will not consider: the Defendant’s ability to pay the bail. Still, according to the Oklahoma Constitution bail is a right, except that it may be denied for:
- capital offenses when the proof of guilt is evident, or the presumption thereof is great;
- violent offenses;
- offenses where the maximum sentence may be life imprisonment or life imprisonment without parole;
- felony offenses where the person charged with the offense has been convicted of two or more felony offenses arising out of different transactions; and
- controlled dangerous substances offenses where the maximum sentence may be at least ten (10) years imprisonment.
Yet, even if the Defendant is charged with one of the above offenses, the proof or presumption of guilt must be great. Furthermore, the judge must also find that there is no condition he or she can impose that will assure that there is no threat of danger to the public.
What can I do If I'm arrested for DUI?
The ramifications for a DUI conviction in Oklahoma are significant. A DUI will significantly affect your job and career choices, your finances and bank account, your mental health and wellbeing, your ability to drive, and your family. Our DUI defense lawyers are aggressive and meticulously pour over every single detail of the arrest and evidence. We aren’t the firm you hire for simple plea assistance, we are the firm you hire when you want to aggressively challenge the charges.
There are many factors and specific actions we review in each case; however, the two following groups are the most important:
Our Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by requiring law enforcement to have probable cause (that a crime is being committed) before they can pull you over. This can include any crime such as left of center, tag light, speeding. However, driving late at night in a particular area of town is not probable cause.
Once the office has probable cause to pull you over he cannot simply issue a breath test. First, he must have a second probable cause requirement in suspecting that you are impaired. After this he can begin his field sobriety test, breath test for blood alcohol, or blood test for alcohol.
THE DUI DEFENSE
The above two scenarios may sound simple but are filled with statutory and case law requirements that must be followed by law enforcement or your case may be dismissed. Our firm begins the process by requesting the booking video, officer’s dash cam video, breath test video, analyzing the Officer’s affidavit, analyzing the actual traffic citation. Simultaneously we will issue certain discovery questions to the law enforcement agency asking to review the breathalyzer and user’s credentials, maintenance, training, and history. You might be very surprised at the number of DUI cases in Oklahoma that are dismissed because of flaws and errors in the arrest and booking process.
At Compton Law, our job is to mount a powerful defense by understanding all the intricate details and facts surrounding your case, which also includes visiting the arrest location. If you feel this is the level of DUI Defense you deserve, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).
How much is a DUI Bond in Oklahoma?
The Bond amount for a DUI arrest in Oklahoma varies depending upon several factors including: number of previous DUI’s, or the severity of the impairment (was it an aggravated amount of Blood Alcohol Content), whether there was property damage or personal injury, and whether there were any other additional charges. In General, the Bond will range from $1,000 to $5,000 and many bail bondsmen charge 10% meaning you would be out of pocket $100 – $500. However, many times if you are represented by a DUI attorney at the bond hearing then the District Attorney would agree to an O.R. bond. Here, you would still have a $1,000 – $5,000 bond, but you would not have to post money, property, or hire a bondsman. So, rather than paying money to bond out, you can utilize those funds to put towards attorney fees.
If you are arrested for DUI you or a family member can contact our office 24/7 to report the arrest and bond hearing date. You can fill out a webform, go to our website for Live Chat, or call 405-542-2529
DUI, NOW WHAT?
DUI is a serious matter that consists of two separate problems: 1: The District Court Criminal Case, and; 2: The Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Revocation Process.
Upon arrest the law enforcement agency will provide a piece of paper notifying the arrestee that his/her license has been automatically revoked. Fortunately, our Constitution requires due process before taking life, liberty, or property. In a license revocation setting this means filing and appeal with DPS which automatically reinstates the license until DPS conducts a hearing. You must act fast, however, because the DPS request for hearing must be received by DPS within 15 days of arrest.