The Parole Process for Oklahoma Offenders

Domestic Abuse Laws in Oklahoma

UPDATED: Oklahoma’s Current Marijuana Laws 2020

2020 UPDATE of Oklahomas Marijuana Laws: 

The state of Oklahoma has changed some of its policies regarding marijuana possession and usage (Bill HB 26126 signed in March 2019) since this blog was originally posted. Citizens of Oklahoma with a medical marijuana license are permitted to have the following:

  • Up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home
  • Up to 3 ounces of marijuana on their person
  • Up to 1 ounce of concentrated marijuana
  • Up to 72 ounces of edible marijuana
  • Up to 6 mature marijuana plants
  • Up to 6 seedling plants

However, without a medical marijuana license, possessing more than 1.5 ounces of herbal cannabis will still lead to a misdemeanor charge (with the penalty of a fine, but no jail time). 

The consumption of marijuana is legal in the home but illegal in public places. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, but Oklahoma residents with a medical marijuana license are allowed to drive with the marijuana in their car (closed and out of reach from the driver) if they do not cross state lines.

 

ORIGINAL POST:

Oklahoma’s current marijuana laws are quite different from those in some blue states and our Canadian neighbors to the north. Location matters just as much as the other facts of the situation when determining whether using marijuana is legal. Unfortunately, Oklahomans face comparably harsh penalties for using marijuana in the Sooner State.

Oklahoma’s Marijuana Laws

The state of Oklahoma has legalized the use of medical marijuana for those with certain medical conditions.  However, there are plenty of questions as to how the medical marijuana program will be implemented. The sad truth is Oklahoma law enforcement has not taken action to simplify the legality surrounding marijuana.  The confusion surrounding Oklahoma’s marijuana laws have spurred numerous meetings between state law enforcement and state lawmakers.

At the moment, Oklahoma’s medical marijuana rules state an individual without a state license will be subjected to a minimum of a $400 fine if he or she has 1.5 ounces or less of cannabis.   However, if the individual in question does not have a medical condition that allows for the use of marijuana, the penalties will be substantially worse. It is particularly interesting to note Oklahoma has a distinct law that decriminalizes the possession of low level drugs.  This is precisely why Oklahoma law enforcers are a bit confounded as to which laws should be followed. Some state police officers have stated they can rely on old laws to legally arrest those who possess marijuana without the state’s medical license. This means it is up to the law enforcement agent to either arrest an individual caught with marijuana or let the matter go with a mere fine.

The Specifics of the Sooner State’s Marijuana Laws

The Sooner State recently altered its marijuana laws with the passage of State Question 788.  The new rules apply lower misdemeanor charges for drug possession. If an individual is found with 1.5 ounces or less of medical cannabis, $400 is the maximum fine he or she will face.  There is no jail time for those found with 1.5 ounces or less of this variety of marijuana. In fact, it is even possible to file an appeal to have prior marijuana convictions altered to reflect the new rules.  Though marijuana laws have clearly changed, it is still illegal for Oklahomans to possess or grow medical marijuana without the appropriate license.

Those who are approved for medical marijuana use in the state of Oklahoma are limited to certain CBD products.  State lawmakers wrote the new marijuana rule to be CBD-specific. This means patients who qualify for the use of CBD products will be able to use marijuana to treat their condition as long as the CBD product does not have more than 3/10 of a single percentage of THC.  THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana.

What Oklahoma’s Law States About Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana

According to H.B. 1441, an individual who has a Schedule 1 controlled or chemical substance in his or her body when driving a motor vehicle will be jailed for a minimum of 10 days and upwards of an entire year or longer.  Unfortunately, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug. If an individual is found guilty of operating motor vehicle a second time while under the influence of marijuana, the sentencing will be even longer.

Some of those found guilty of crimes related to marijuana charges will lose more than their weed.  Oklahoma law allows for any property or vehicles to be seized if they were involved in the charges relating to marijuana.  Furthermore, it is possible for those convicted of cannabis-related crimes to have their driver’s license suspended for upwards of three years.  

Recreational Cannabis in Oklahoma

At the moment, Oklahoma does not permit the use of recreational cannabis.  Though cannabis laws are changing in some states, Oklahoma still limits cannabis consumption to those with certain medical problems.  Thanks to State Question 7890 that went into effect in July of 2017, all marijuana charges in the state of Oklahoma are misdemeanor charges.  It does not matter if the individual in question has a single marijuana offense or dozens of marijuana offenses; the possession charge will remain as a misdemeanor.

Furthermore, Oklahoma has a tax stamp law for those found with cannabis.  Those in possession of illegal marijuana are forced to buy a stamp issued by the state of Oklahoma.  This stamp is placed on the contraband. The per gram tax stamp rate is currently $3.50. Those who do not comply with the tax stamp law will face a penalty that is 200 times as severe as the tax stamp rate.

The importance of having a lawyer for misdemeanors in Oklahoma

It seems like people are often quick to brush off misdemeanor charges as no big deal. After all, it’s not a felony, right?! Wrong. 

Misdemeanor charges in Oklahoma can range from assault to breaking an entering to DUI to theft — and more. Just because those charges aren’t as serious as, say, murder or armed robbery doesn’t mean they can’t have an everlasting impact on your life. 

Being charged with a misdemeanor versus a felony should not change your decision to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight the charges on your behalf.

The key difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the punishment you could receive if you’re convicted.  

Your chances of being sentenced to time behind bars are much higher for a felony, but you could end up in jail for a misdemeanor as well. Generally, a misdemeanor charge will carry a maximum prison sentence of less than one year. 

For example, if you’re convicted of assault in Oklahoma, you could be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail and be forced to pay a fine of up to $500. 

And even after you’re completed whatever sentence associated with a misdemeanor conviction, that conviction could haunt you permanently by remaining on your criminal record. Having a criminal record can negatively affect your chances of finding a good job or solid housing. It can also hurt your reputation, as criminal convictions are public record for anyone to see. 

 

How can a lawyer help with misdemeanors? 

A criminal defense attorney will go through every aspect of your case. They’ll make sure the police followed the laws if they searched your home or vehicle, and they’ll look for holes in the charges. 

They’re also skilled at negotiating plea deals with prosecutors that could end with you not having a criminal conviction on your record. How? They can help you get an expungement of your criminal record, which is a complicated process for wiping your record clean. Just like you can defend yourself in court, you can also file your own paperwork for an expungement, but it’s highly discouraged. 

There’s a lot of legalese, paperwork and technical tasks that must be done to successfully defend misdemeanor charges, and the same goes for expungements. 

If you’re charged with a crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, you have the right to an attorney. But it’s up to you to ask for one. 

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, contact Jacqui Ford’s office today. 

How Long Before an Offense Drops off My Record?

You may have heard an old urban legend about criminal convictions dropping off your criminal record after a certain number of years. Seven years? Ten years? Is it less for a misdemeanor? When you’re applying for jobs and housing, any amount of years can seem like an eternity for a conviction to remain on your record. 

But if you’re relying on the urban myth to help clear your record without any action on your part, we’ve got some bad news: Criminal records don’t automatically disappear after a period of time. 

In order for your record to be wiped clean (or sealed from the view of potential employers or landlords), you must apply for and receive an expungement. 

 

Who is eligible for expungement in Oklahoma? 

In Oklahoma, you could qualify for expungement if you meet one of the following criteria: 

  • You’ve been acquitted. 
  • Your conviction was reversed by an appeals court.  
  • DNA evidence exonerated you. 
  • The governor pardoned you. 
  • You were arrested, but prosecutors never filed charges against you. 
  • The charges were dismissed. 
  • You were charged with a misdemeanor or certain nonviolent felony offenses and completed a successful deferment program — as long as you don’t have another pending charge against you and one year has passed since your conviction. 

There are other circumstances in which you could be eligible for expungement.

How do you apply for expungement in Oklahoma? 

In Oklahoma, applying for an expungement is pretty complicated. You are free to file your own paperwork, but it’s not recommended. Even the state Bureau of Investigations recommends that you get an experienced lawyer to help you sort through the documents and ensure you have everything you need. 

The expungement process in Oklahoma goes something like this: 

  • File an expungement request at the Clerk of Court’s office in the county where charges were filed against you. 
  • Submit copies of your expungement request to the District Attorney’s Office, the law enforcement agency that arrested you, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations. 
  • Go before a judge for a hearing to discuss your case and answer questions from the judge. 
  • The judge will decide whether to grant your expungement and seal some or all of your arrest and/or conviction records. 

It’s important to note that even if your record is expunged, law enforcement will still be able to see your file and use it against you if you’re charged with another crime. 

Don’t let a misstep get in the way of you and a clean record. Contact Jacui Ford’s office today for help. 

Who can see my record after an expungement?

So, you’ve been arrested and convicted of a crime, but you’ve done your time and even gotten an expungement — or wiping your record clean of said criminal charges. But what does that mean for you going forward? 

Expungements can make life easier for you in many ways.

Here’s a breakdown of what an expungement means for you. 

Who can see my record after an expungement? 

Typically, employers, landlords and others in the private sector who run a background check will not be able to see any record of an arrest after an expungement. This is not limited to the records provided by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s background reports. An expungement should also remove your arrest record from FBI records. 

This means that you can answer “no” when asked if you have a criminal record, although there are a few exceptions. You cannot be denied housing or a job if your record has been expunged. 

But law enforcement will still be able to view your arrest record, even if it was expunged. How does that impact you? Your record could be brought up if you’re accused of another crime or if you ever testify in court. Also, a federal background check for federal employment or immigration issues could include the record that has been expunged. 

Who qualifies for expungement in Oklahoma? 

In Oklahoma, you could qualify for expungement under the following circumstances: 

  • You’ve been acquitted. 
  • Your conviction was reversed by an appeals court.  
  • DNA evidence exonerated you. 
  • The governor pardoned you. 
  • You were arrested, but prosecutors never filed charges against you. 
  • The charges were dismissed. 
  • You were charged with a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony offense and completed a successful deferment program — as long as you don’t have another pending charge against you and one year has passed since your conviction. 

There are other circumstances in which you could be eligible for expungement. Visit the state Bureau of Investigations website for more information. 

Do I need a lawyer for an expungement?

Although anyone who is eligible for an expungement can file their own paperwork, the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations strongly recommends you get an attorney to file on your behalf. There’s a lot of paperwork, legal notice and other requirements in order to successfully file an expungement. Any misstep could cost you big time. 

The team at Jacqui Ford’s law firm has ample experience handling expungements in Oklahoma. Before you decide to pursue an expungement of your record, contact Jacqui Ford’s office for help. 

Fill out our expungement form to see if you are eligible.