What to know if you are charged with domestic violence in Oklahoma

Domestic violence can be charged in a number of different ways in Oklahoma.

Regardless of the details of the charges, however, it is vital to have on your side a dedicated criminal defense attorney with experience in domestic violence cases.

From our team of Oklahoma defense attorneys at Jacqui Ford Law, here’s what you need to know if you or a loved one is charged with domestic violence, and the different reasons it might be filed in different ways.

What is domestic violence in Oklahoma?

One of the first, and most important, things to know is that domestic violence is different from simple assault and battery. The difference between these charges depends on who’s involved.

In a domestic violence case in Oklahoma, there has to be some sort of relationship between the victim and the accused. You can’t have a domestic violence charge without the victim or the accused being one of the following: 

  • spouse
  • former spouse
  • boyfriend/girlfriend
  • parent
  • some sort of foster parent
  • child
  • some sort of blood relative
  • relative by marriage
  • parent of a mutual child, etc.

This even extends to someone who’s currently living in a house, even if there’s no familial relationship. For example, there could even be domestic violence in a roommate situation. Domestic abuse requires some sort of pre-existing relationship before the crime occurs – which makes it different from a simple assault and battery (which could be a bar fight, for example).

This is important because when you’re charged with domestic violence, the community, and the legislature have decided that that act is much more offensive than the act of getting in a fight with a stranger in a street – that we somehow owe each other a greater duty because we have this familial or romantic relationship. It suggests that we should engage in behavior with even greater than the amount of respect guaranteed to strangers.

What does a domestic violence misdemeanor charge mean in Oklahoma?

As a general rule, the first-time offense of domestic violence in Oklahoma will most likely be treated as a misdemeanor if there’s no great bodily injury, no strangulation, and no aggravating factors. 

A misdemeanor means that you’re looking at up to a year in the county jail. In Oklahoma, it also carries a $5,000 fine.

Your first-time offense could be charged in a municipal court, like the City of Oklahoma City, or Mustang, or Yukon, or Piedmont. 

But you could be charged in state court. Oftentimes domestic violence cases do get transferred over to state court because they carry with them extra obligations, as opposed to a simple assault and battery.

Here, it’s important to talk about bonds. Let’s say there’s a fight or domestic dispute at the house, someone calls the police, and the police come and take you to jail. You can almost guarantee that you’re going to be held in jail without bond. In other cases, like with a DUI or simple possession of marijuana, you know your bond is going to be set at $1,000 or $2,000, so you can call a bondsman, post your bond, and get out of jail. 

But in a domestic violence case, the law permits the government to hold you for 72 hours. They call it a ‘cooling-off period.’ They believe this time allows emotions to calm down, and whatever issues allowed the situation to get out of control will have an opportunity to subside. Some people also say it gives the victim an opportunity to pack their bags and get out — or re-think the accusation

But either way, there’s a 72 hour hold, which means you’re stuck in jail for three days if you don’t hire an experienced lawyer to defend you on these domestic violence cases.

If you’ve been arrested, or your loved one has been arrested, and they’re being held with a 72-hour hold, contact our Oklahoma City criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. We’ll get in there and see what we can do to get that bond lifted so that we can get the accused person out and back to life as usual.

What about a second domestic violence charge? 

A second charge of domestic violence most likely gives rise to a felony charge in the state of Oklahoma. These felony charges can carry up to four years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and, again, up to a $5,000 fine.

Domestic violence carries a number of differently qualifying statutes.

  • What does it mean to have ‘great bodily injury?’ 

You may not have any prior domestic violence charges, but in this situation, the actions that gave rise caused an incredible injury to one of the parties. Maybe a nose or a finger got broken. We would call that great bodily injury. First-time offense carries up to 10 years in the State Department of Corrections. If you’re charged with or accused of committing domestic violence against a woman you knew to be pregnant (whether it’s your first-time offense, whether she suffers any injuries or not), the range of punishment is up to 10 years in the State Department of Corrections, as well as a $10,000 fine.

  • Sometimes we see people charged with domestic violence ‘by strangulation.’

Strangulation means that someone put their hands on, or around, your airways in an attempt to stop you from breathing naturally. The penalty is a minimum of one year, but it can carry up to three years and up to a $3,000 fine. 

These are pretty serious allegations. Each one of the enhancers does not require a misdemeanor to give it rise to be a felony.

Being found guilty of a domestic violence charge in Oklahoma

If, during any of these charges, you are found guilty, you’re required under Oklahoma statute to engage in a 52-week batterers’ intervention course. This includes being found guilty:

  • By a judge 
  • By a jury
  • In the course of a trial 
  • By plea
  • If you receive a deferred sentence (which is a special kind of probation that’s not a conviction, but allows the court to make a finding of guilt and put you on probation to meet your certain probationary needs at the end of that sentence the case is dismissed.) 

In any domestic violence situation where you’re charged and sentenced, you have to take part in this domestic violence course for an entire year. 

This is important because that is a stringent probationary requirement. There’s no other law in the state of Oklahoma that requires mandatory one-year’s worth of classes for any other action. The 52-weeks batterers’ intervention course is not an option. It is mandatory. And they’re not very tolerant of absences – they’re pretty serious about you starting it and completing it with the same groups of folks you started it with.

So it’s important to know if you’re going to enter a plea that you might want to start enrolling in those classes early. If you start engaging in those classes, you learn the skills and tools necessary to be able to better deal with better conflict within the home environment. And that helps your defense attorney assist you in negotiating a better deal on your behalf.

Is it considered a violent offense?

Well, by its very name it must be deemed violent because it’s violent – domestic violence. However, it’s not violent for the purposes of whether you’re considered a violent offender in the state of Oklahoma. 

To put it briefly, do you have to register as a violent offender on the Violent Offender Registry? No.

However, it is a violent offense for other reasons. For people who are looking at an application for you to rent from their rental property, domestic violence charges can, and oftentimes do, prohibit you from having access to that rental property. People will just say, “No. We’re not doing it.” 

If you are currently renting, and you are charged with domestic violence, and the police have been called out to your apartment complex because of a domestic violence issue, in many leases you will find a term that says they can terminate you, and everyone who’s in that house, if you return after a domestic violence case.

Employers look at domestic violence with a special eye, oftentimes, too. And it’s very likely that you could risk being fired from your job based upon a plea or conviction for domestic violence.

Getting a domestic violence case dismissed in Oklahoma

It’s difficult to get a case like this dismissed. Oftentimes, you have to litigate it. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you have to set a date for trial, see if your accuser shows up, deal with the evidence as they have it, and ask a jury to see it your way.

If you’re charged with a felony, you have some more options. Certainly, it’s not a good thing to be charged with a felony, but at least in a felony you have a right to a preliminary hearing. That’s the first time that they’re going to call your accuser in and get their story on the record. Whatever they reported to law enforcement is not evidence. And that’s important to remember.

It’s important for the person who notified law enforcement to remember that it’s not evidence, either. And you’re not stuck to the story that you told. Especially if that story isn’t truthful. You have a right, a duty, and an obligation to clear up the record. Not only for yourself, but also for the person who’s been accused.

I hear it from clients and their alleged victims all the time. “I don’t want to press charges. Do I have to go to court?” The fact of the matter is, if law enforcement is involved it’s not up to you to make that decision anymore. The crime is not you against your spouse. The crime is the state of Oklahoma against the offender

Still, though, the alleged victim has an incredible amount of power. 

What does this mean for Oklahoma citizens accused of domestic violence?

Domestic violence claims come with really a dark cloud, and it can really be debilitating. 

Oftentimes, we see domestic violence claims accompanied with other cases. Let’s say you and your spouse are getting a divorce. It’s possible that lawyers – especially divorce lawyers who don’t practice in criminal court and don’t understand the grave consequences of making such false allegations – oftentimes encourage their clients to use the court system’s resources, whatever they might be, to best advantage them for a battle over silverware and custody of their children.

So, if you’re charged with a domestic violence case, and you’re also going through a divorce, talk to your divorce lawyer about their experience in this matter. Most divorce lawyers that I know should know that they don’t want to mess with domestic violence accusations. And they’ll send you to an experienced lawyer in Oklahoma City to represent you.

In sum, these are the most important things you need to know about domestic violence:

  • It could be a misdemeanor, or it could be a felony. 
  • It could be a year, or it could carry up to 10. 
  • Any finding of guilt, any conviction of any kind, is ultimately going to result in 52-weeks of batterers’ intervention courses, along with a slew and series of other probationary requirements. 

Contact Jacqui Ford Law today

In order to limit these consequences, limit your amount of time that you’re on probation, and limit the amount of hoops that you have to jump through, it’s important that you find someone experienced in defending domestic violence cases. We hope that you give us a shot. Contact Jacqui Ford Law today to see how we can help.

What Happens In A Domestic Violence Case When The Victim Doesn’t Press Charges?

Domestic violence cases are serious procedures. Every state wants to see abusers brought to justice. 

In a domestic violence case, there may be an issue with the victim. They may not want to press charges against their abuser. What happens in this case?

Our criminal defense team at Jacqui Ford Law is ready to enact justice where we can. Let’s talk about what you need to know about a victim refusing to press charges in an Oklahoma domestic violence case.

What Happens When A Victim Doesn’t Press Charges in Oklahoma?

Most of the time, the victim is the individual who calls the police to press charges against someone they accused of domestic violence. They may offer additional evidence to work from, such as photographs and recordings of the alleged abuse. 

Their testimony is the most helpful and compelling when attempting to determine the guilty party in a domestic violence case.

If a victim changes their mind and doesn’t want to pursue the case, it might seem like refusing to press charges is in their control. However, this is not the case.

Once the victim has contacted the authorities, the case is out of their hands. Law Enforcement must deal with the offender and sentence them to justice, whether or not the victim wants to continue with the original charges. 

Can A Victim Drop Domestic Violence Charges?

If victims desire to drop domestic violence charges, they have little say in the matter. They can contact the prosecutor’s office and inform them about their choice. 

However, that’s all they can do once the case has shifted to the authorities. 

If the judge doesn’t find enough evidence in the courtroom, they may drop the charges. However, this decision typically has little to do with what the alleged victim wants. Everything is out of their control once they turn their situation over to the police.

What Does The State Do If A Victim Won’t Cooperate?

There are some domestic violence cases where the verdict depends on what the victim has to say. 

Without cooperation, the state may have trouble determining the guilt or innocence of the alleged abuser. 

The prosecutor can continue with the case if they think it’s in their best interest to get the person off the streets. This action is common if the abuse was violent in a way that could harm more people in the future. The desire for safety is stronger than the victim’s desire to get rid of their original charges.

The prosecutor even has the choice to subpoena the victim if they refuse to help. If the victim chooses to ignore the subpoena, they may be subject to a bench warrant and even arrest. If they don’t want to appear and testify at the trial, they could be held in contempt of the court.

Victims who claim one testimony and change it as the prosecution progresses could also face difficulties. If this happens, the victim becomes a hostile witness. The prosecutor can then turn to 911 calls, statements to authorities, and other items to push against the victim’s changed testimony. 

Contact Jacqui Ford Law Today

If you’ve been charged with or even accused of domestic violence, you may be going through one of the toughest experiences of your life. Contact Jacqui Ford Law now. We are committed to justice and ready to help you settle your case in the best manner for your life.

What is domestic violence in the presence of a child in Oklahoma?

Domestic violence is when there is a threat or an actual attempt to use physical force against someone you live with. 

The penalties for domestic violence are harsh, and when domestic violence happens in the presence of a child, they are that much more severe, with long jail sentences and more significant fines.

As such, if you live in Oklahoma City, and are being accused of domestic violence in the presence of a minor, it is imperative to contact experienced defense lawyer Jacqui Ford right away. 

Domestic violence crimes in the state of Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, domestic violence crimes involve assault, battery, or assault and battery, against one of the following:

  • a person who is the offender’s current or former spouse, 
  • the spouse of the offender’s former spouse, 
  • a family member by blood or marriage, 
  • a foster parent, 
  • a person the offender is dating – presently or in the past, 
  • a person the offender lives with (or had lived with), or 
  • the person with whom the offender share a child

Under Okla.Stat. Ann. Tit. 21, §641, assault is a threat that involves physical action like drawing a fist or charging toward a victim. Words alone are not enough.

On the contrary, battery is the intentional use of force against another person that causes harm or offense to the victim. Striking a person with a fist and spitting on another both are acts that constitute battery (§642). 

Threatening and then acting upon this threat would be classified as assault and battery

Oklahoma’s penalties for domestic violence in the presence of a child

Penalties for domestic violence and domestic violence in the presence of a child vary – and depend significantly on your record. 

If you have a previous criminal record, you can expect the penalty to be more severe. 

For example, a first offense for domestic violence can result in six to twelve months in jail, a fine of $5,0000, or both. But a second or subsequent conviction, or one involving a child, is considered a felony. This means you can get one to five years in prison, a fine of $7,000, or both.

What to do if you are charged with domestic violence in Oklahoma

There are several things to keep in mind if you’re charged with domestic violence in Oklahoma.

First, it’s important to refrain from speaking to the police to save yourself from possible self-incrimination. Your words can be misinterpreted and misrepresented, affecting your case. 

Then, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney like our team at Jacqui Ford Law as soon as possible. 

It is also best to refrain from discussing the specifics of your case with anyone other than your attorney. While this may be challenging, it is truly within your best interests. 

And, of course, you should never, ever try to contact the alleged victim or child. 

If you’re facing a domestic violence charge, schedule a consultation with Jacqui Ford Law right away 

A domestic violence conviction can affect your ability to see your family and make it hard for you to obtain employment. Having the best legal representation from an experienced and dedicated attorney to protect your interest is key. Jacqui Ford Law will take the time to understand the details of your case without judgment and advise you as to the best course of action. 

You can reach Jacqui Ford Law by phone at 405-604-3200 or schedule an appointment online. We are committed to helping you see through this process with dignity, and look forward to hearing from you. 

6 key questions to ask your domestic violence defense lawyer in Oklahoma

If you are accused of domestic violence in Oklahoma City, you could be facing jail time, a hefty fine, or both. 

This is especially true if the incident in question happened in the presence of a child. 

In these situations, it’s vital to have a dedicated defense attorney such as Jacqui Ford by your side. Here are six questions you should ask your defense attorney to make sure they are qualified to fight for you. 

Remember, your future is at stake. 

1.) What type of law do you focus on?

A domestic violence charge carries the potential for jail time and fines.

If this is your first domestic violence charge, you could face up to one year in jail, a fine of $5,000, or both. If this is your second offense – or beyond – you could be sent to prison for up to four years, face a fine of up to $5000, or both. 

Many attorneys say they have dealt with domestic violence cases before, but most don’t have the skills or experience to protect your rights. Before you move forward with an attorney, ask for specifics regarding the attorney’s previous domestic violence cases. 

2.) Would this domestic violence case go to trial in Oklahoma?

While no attorney has a crystal ball to tell you how your particular case will pan out, an attorney who has experience in domestic violence cases does have the knowledge and ability to let you know if the specifics of your case warrant a trial. 

When they do, ask if they have tried similar cases and can demonstrate how the two align. Jacqui Ford Law has handled cases that have gone to trial and those that haven’t – managing even the most domestic violence complex charges. 

3.) Based on Oklahoma state law, what legal strategy do you recommend?

No two domestic violence cases are the same, so you need an attorney who understands the intricacies associated with Oklahoma State Law. 

When meeting with a potential attorney, ask if there is a particular strategy they would recommend based on the details you have shared. 

4.) What are the possible outcomes of this case?

If any attorney tells you, “do this; it works every time,” run

No two cases are the same, so no two strategies should be, either. 

Your attorney should be able to tell you what could happen should you utilize their approach or not, expressing all that you could face. 

Jacqui Ford Law will be honest with you – informing you of every possible outcome so that you do not feel blindsided. 

5.) How do you communicate with your Oklahoma City clients?

Find out how often your attorney plans to communicate with you so that you can ensure the attorney’s work style meets is consistent with your preferences. 

It is also essential to ask if you will be speaking with the attorney, a paralegal, or an assistant and where and how (over the phone, in the office, via Zoom, etc.). 

6.) What is the overall cost?

Ask what you are expected to pay, how, and when.

Some law firms require a retainer; others have a fee schedule. Always ask what additional fees there could be (and why). 

And do remember – you get what you pay for. A cheap, load-em-up attorney grabs a bunch of clients for a low price and doesn’t always provide clients with the attention they deserve (affecting their lives for years to come). 

Contact Jacqui Ford Law today

Jacqui Ford Law welcomes these questions and any others you may have. Our communication and care for our clients are unparalleled. We will take the time to understand your situation and provide you with the best possible strategy to safeguard your future. Feel free to call our Oklahoma City office at 405-604-3200 or schedule an appointment online

Is verbal abuse considered domestic violence in Oklahoma?

In the state of Oklahoma, verbal abuse itself is not considered an act of domestic violence

However, there are times when verbal abuse does provide grounds for the issuance of a protective order. 

Because the law concerning domestic violence and verbal abuse is so complex, hiring an experienced Oklahoma defense attorney, such as Jacqui Ford Law, can help ensure your rights are protected – whether you are a victim of domestic violence or being falsely accused.

When is verbal abuse a criminal offense in the state of Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, under §21-843.2:

No caretaker shall verbally abuse any person entrusted to the care of the caretaker, or knowingly cause, secure, or permit an act of verbal abuse to be done. Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” 

Note that verbal abuse is categorized as a crime, but only in a caretaking capacity. As such, verbal abuse is not considered domestic violence in and of itself in the state of Oklahoma – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious accusation.

Remember, verbal abuse is often viewed as a precursor that leads to a domestic violence crime. And many times, the two go hand in hand.


So, while verbal abuse may not be “legally” classified as domestic violence, it should be taken very seriously.

In Oklahoma, what is the penalty if convicted of verbal abuse?

  • 21843.2 defines verbal use the following way:  

“Verbal abuse means the repeated use of words, sounds, or other forms of communication by a caretaker, including but not limited to, language, gestures, actions or behaviors, that are calculated to humiliate or intimidate or cause fear, embarrassment, shame, or degradation to the person entrusted to the care of the caretaker.”

As a caretaker in Oklahoma, you can be “punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed one (1) year, or by a fine not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

Again, this law only applies to caretakers – but that doesn’t mean it is not relevant in domestic violence cases. Assault and battery often have a verbal component (a threat, followed by action), and a record of verbal abuse can strengthen the abused’s case.

Does verbal abuse qualify for a protective order in Oklahoma?

Anyone in Oklahoma can ask the courts to issue a protective order if they have 

  • been physically abused or threatened with physical abuse, or 
  • the person who abused or threatened the abused is a family member or living within your household.

So, if verbal abuse falls within these categories, it is possible to obtain a protective order.

Are you facing a domestic violence charge? Jacqui Ford Law can help.

Jacqui Ford Law is committed to justice.

If you live in Oklahoma City and are falsely accused of domestic violence, Jacqui Ford Law can help. Our goal is to make sure you and your rights are protected – no matter your situation. We will take the time to understand your situation to develop a strategy that aligns with your goals.


Contact Jacqui Ford Law today by phone at 405-604-3200 or schedule an appointment online to learn more.

What is a felony domestic charge, and how long does the DA have to file?

Domestic abuse in Oklahoma can be either a misdemeanor or felony charge. 

Understanding your rights and what to expect when facing such charges is important.

From our Oklahoma defense attorneys at Jacqui Ford Law, this blog will walk you through the various circumstances that can make a domestic abuse case become felony charges and guide you through how long the district attorney has to file charges against you.

What makes domestic abuse a felony in Oklahoma?

Generally speaking, your first domestic abuse case will be charged as a misdemeanor

With a misdemeanor, you’ll only face up to a year in jail and a possible fine of up to $5,000. For subsequent domestic abuse cases, you’ll face felony charges. 

If your domestic abuse arrest shows a pattern of prior abuse, however, you could face felony charges. The District Attorney will work to prove a pattern of abuse through sworn witness accounts or proof of a prior history of police calls out to your home for domestic abuse.

Additionally, you could face felony charges for domestic abuse if you used a dangerous weapon in the course of threatening or harming the other individual. In this case, you could face up to 10 years in prison. 

If you shoot a domestic relation, you could serve a life term in prison.

Strangulation is another way your domestic abuse charges could be elevated to a felony. No matter the circumstances, if you used strangulation or threatened strangulation, you could face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000. Other future strangulation domestic abuse situations could leave you facing up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $20,000. 

How long does the District Attorney have to file felony charges?

After you’ve been arrested for domestic abuse, the District Attorney has 60 days to file felony charges against you. 

However, if you’ve been arrested on suspicion of first or second-degree murder charges, aggravated kidnapping, or aggravated rape, the District Attorney has 120 from the date of your arrest to file charges. 

In situations where the suspect has been bonded from jail, the District Attorney then has 150 days from the date of that individual’s arrest to file charges. 

If the District Attorney fails to file charges within the allotted time frame based on the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest, you might have a right to be released from jail or your bail obligations. 

It’s important to note that being released from jail does not mean you won’t face felony charges for the offense. It just means law enforcement cannot continue to keep you in jail without further proof of your offenses.

What’s a suspended or deferred sentence?

In domestic assault and battery cases, the courts can grant a deferred or suspended sentence. 

This would allow the court to delay proceedings without entering a final decision to either convict you or dismiss your case. Generally, a suspended or deferred sentence includes specific conditions that the defendant must comply with.

In these cases, you can serve your sentence at least part of the time on probation so long as you follow the rules for your probation. This allows you to minimize your time in jail. Suspended or deferred sentencing can be helpful when your case has a challenging or unlikely defense. 

Here’s what typically happens with a suspended or deferred sentence: 

  • If there isn’t a protective order in place, the court will issue one to protect the victim. 
  • Another condition of the suspended or deferred sentence is attending remedial activities. This might include anger management or substance abuse classes. 
  • You also might be required to attend therapy or complete community service for your remedial activities.

Contact Jacqui Ford Law for help with your domestic abuse defense today

Jacqui Ford Law offers a free consultation to learn more about your criminal defense needs. We’ll walk you through our process and guide you in the next steps for your case. Contact us today.

What is the statute of limitations on domestic violence in Oklahoma?

A statute of limitations is the allowable time frame for prosecutors to bring about criminal charges against a defendant. 

Section 152 of title 22 of Oklahoma’s statutes outlines the law regarding when the prosecution can bring about criminal charges. Many criminal acts have a statute of limitations of three years from the date of the crime.

Some crimes have lengthier statutes of limitations, but because domestic violence does not have a specific timeframe listed, it falls under the general three-year limit. 

This means that a victim cannot come forth more than three years after a domestic violence event and have law enforcement seek charges against the accused person. However, if they claim domestic violence is ongoing and there are events within the last three years, someone could still face these charges.

To help you understand domestic violence cases, our team of Oklahoma defense attorneys at Jacqui Ford Law has outlined the stages that these cases go through. This way, you’ll know what to expect from start to finish

  • Facing a Domestic Violence complaint and investigation

When a victim files a complaint of domestic violence, it is not up to a victim whether or not to file criminal charges for domestic violence in Oklahoma. Instead, law enforcement will make this decision. 

Alternatively, law enforcement might witness domestic violence, or another witness – such as a neighbor or family member – might come forward with a complaint. Once there is proof that domestic violence might be occurring, law enforcement can open an investigation.

Even during this early questioning phase while law enforcement is gathering details, you should retain an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney. That way you ensure you don’t say or do the wrong thing during this early phase of the case.

  • Arrests for Domestic Violence in Oklahoma

If there is enough proof that domestic violence occurred, the prosecution might issue a warrant for your arrest. When this happens, employ your right to remain silent until your Oklahoma defense attorney is present. 

  • Pre-trial hearing

Once you’ve been arrested for domestic violence, you’ll face an arraignment hearing. You’ll need to appear in court for this. During this time, the prosecution must advise you of the charges you’re facing and explain your legal rights. 

At this point, you need to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Most attorneys will advise that you enter a not guilty plea during this phase. You can always change your plea if the prosecution offers a fair plea bargain later.

  • Plea bargaining

Between arraignment and your actual trial, your defense attorney will be working to learn more about the evidence against you. Depending on the evidence, your attorney might enter into plea bargain negotiations. 

A plea bargain is when both you and the prosecutor enter into an agreement in exchange for lesser charges and sentencing. While it often includes pleading guilty to charges, the charges and penalties you face are generally not as severe as the charges you could have faced in court.

Having a good lawyer will help immensely at this phase of the process. Your attorney can show areas of weakness in the prosecution’s case to further motivate them to negotiate – or get the domestic violence charges dropped altogether

  • Trial

If negotiations don’t go well or your attorney feels like the plea bargains the prosecution is offering are not fair, your case will go to trial. At trial, the prosecution will be working hard to prove that you’re guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Meanwhile, your attorney will bring forth witnesses and evidence for your defense. Ultimately, the judge or jury will make the call about your guilt in the case.

Contact Jacqui Ford to get started on your defense

Jacqui Ford Law has been providing criminal defense services for the people of Oklahoma for more than a decade. If you need an attorney who will fight for your rights if you’ve been accused of domestic violence or any other crime in Oklahoma City, schedule a free consultation with our office.

What happens to first-time domestic violence offenders?

First-time domestic violence offenders are certainly viewed more favorably than those who have a history of domestic abuse. 

A first offense is generally charged as a misdemeanor so long as there are no aggravating circumstances. In this case, the suspect could face up to one year in jail, a fine up to $5,000, or a combination of both jail time and a fine.

However, once an individual has been charged with one domestic abuse charge, the courts will view any repeat offenses as a pattern in the behavior and will act more harshly to protect the community from future domestic violence from the perpetrator.

From our team of dedicated Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys, here’s everything you need to know about a first-time domestic violence charge.

What to expect in a domestic violence legal proceeding in Oklahoma

The first step in the domestic violence legal process is that the accused person gets arrested. 

Then, an arraignment takes place. During an arraignment, the courts make it clear what the suspect is being accused of. 

At this point, the individual on trial will enter a plea. 

It is very important to seek experienced criminal defense counsel before your arraignment. The decision you make about entering a plea is crucial to the future of your case. You can change your plea at any point in the process; however, it’s best to get it right from the start with how you enter your plea. 

After the arraignment, the courts will issue the defendant new court dates for the rest of the legal proceedings. Your criminal defense attorney might engage in pre-trial negotiations during this time. Throughout this process, your lawyer will spend time learning the following for your case:

  • The facts in the case against you
  • Your criminal history (if any)
  • Your victim’s history
  • The extent of injuries (if any)
  • Other facts and details that relate to the case

Your Oklahoma defense lawyer will need to investigate details about the case in their quest to build your defense. This can sometimes mean discussing the matter with any witnesses, including character witnesses. 

Even if you’re not physically in a courtroom in front of a judge, your attorney will be working hard to build your criminal defense against the domestic violence charges to earn a favorable outcome or to get your case dismissed entirely.

How does a misdemeanor affect my record?

Misdemeanor convictions do not have the same severe consequences that felony charges do

However, a misdemeanor still gives you a criminal record and could make it more difficult to prove your innocence in future criminal cases. 

Similarly, if a job application asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, you’ll need to answer yes and the misdemeanor will show on your record during the background check

In some cases, an employer may only request criminal records back a set number of years. However, you don’t want to rely on that being the case.

There is no set time for which a misdemeanor will no longer show on your criminal record. It will remain there unless you petition to have it expunged or sealed

Although most first-time domestic violence charges are only a misdemeanor, it is not something you want to just plead guilty to and accept. You should still hire an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney to defend you to avoid a conviction. 

How you can help prepare a domestic violence defense with your lawyer?

As your lawyer works to build your domestic violence defense, they might look to you for additional details. 

You should try to provide as much detail as possible that might help in favorable negotiations. 

These details might include:

  • Violent history of the victim
  • Previous false accusations the victim made
  • The victim’s psychological state
  • Proof of victim drug or alcohol abuse
  • Any other details that might explain the violence between you

Contact Jacqui Ford Law for help your defense

Jacqui Ford Law is a team of fierce defense attorneys. Whether your domestic abuse case is your first or subsequent offense, we’ll protect your rights. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our criminal defense services.

How can a domestic violence case be dropped in Oklahoma?

Does a domestic violence charge show up on a background check in Oklahoma?

Facing a domestic violence charge is not something you should take lightly. If convicted, the case will have far-reaching effects on your life, including impacts on where you live, your career, and your family. 

That’s because domestic violence will likely show up on a background check. 

Depending on the depth of the background check, even domestic violence charges that are dropped will show up on a background check, and you’ll have to explain them to the hiring manager. Domestic violence charges can be misdemeanors or felonies, but even a misdemeanor will show up on a background check during a job search, housing interview, etc. 

In this blog, our team of Oklahoma domestic violence defense attorneys at Jacqui Ford Law explain what a domestic violence charge might entail, what you can expect during a case, and the impacts a conviction could have on your daily life.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence can take many forms. Even though it includes the word violence, it does not necessarily mean that you’ve harmed a person physically. 

You might be charged with domestic violence if you are accused of any of the following:

  • Harming someone
  • Assaulting someone 
  • Stalking someone
  • Threatening someone

Additionally, breaching a restraining order can constitute a domestic violence violation. Attempting to control or manipulate someone you live in a domestic relationship with can also be classified as domestic violence.

The following parties can bring about domestic violence charges.

  • Spouse/former spouse
  • Girlfriend/boyfriend
  • Child/foster child
  • Parent
  • Anyone who currently or previously lived with you (i.e., roommate or housemate)

Domestic violence conviction and penalties

The largest penalties at stake in a domestic violence include your career, custody of children, and even your living situation.

But there are other penalties such as fines and jail time, as well.

First-time offenses (where the accused has no history of violence or domestic abuse) are generally classified as misdemeanors in Oklahoma, which could lead to up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. 

However, subsequent convictions will mean a felony charge and up to four years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Those who have a history of violence could face up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, if you committed domestic violence in the presence of a child, you’ll face more serious charges and a minimum of six months in jail. 

Domestic violence against a woman who the accused knows is pregnant will also increase the severity of the situation and will generally be felony charges. 

Impacts of domestic violence on background checks

While the pains of the court case, jail time, and fines will be challenging if convicted, the long-term effect comes in the fact that you now have a criminal record. 

Anytime someone runs a background check on you, they’ll see your conviction. 

Felony charges are much harder to work around – but don’t assume that a misdemeanor charge won’t also have an impact on your ability to find and retain a job. Either way, you’ll likely be barred from working in public employment or in a profession that requires a professional license.

Finding a good domestic violence legal team

Don’t assume that it’s your word against that of your accuser in a domestic violence case. People are sometimes surprised by convictions because they figure that the accuser doesn’t have adequate proof.

Instead, take this valuable time to work with an experienced Oklahoma domestic violence defense attorney to protect your good name. Your attorney will work with you to build your case. Even in cases where a defense attorney cannot avoid all charges for their client, they can often get them decreased to lesser charges to preserve your way of life.

Need domestic violence defense in Oklahoma? Contact Jacqui Ford Law

Jacqui Ford Law has extensive experience defending individuals charged with domestic violence. Our legal defense team won’t rest until your case is complete. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.