What are the consequences of felony convictions in Oklahoma?
If you’re convicted of a felony in Oklahoma, jail time is only one of your worries. In addition to the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence, you’ll also face all kinds of barriers when you return home from prison.
What constitutes a felony in Oklahoma?
Felonies in Oklahoma are defined as a crime for which you can be punished with jail time or death. Oklahoma is one of the only states that does not classify its felonies into different categories, so each felony has its own maximum penalty. Some felony convictions lead to enormous fines and up to 35 years in prison, while others have smaller fines and can only lead to 5 years in prison.
So what are some felony crimes in Oklahoma?
- Assault, battery, or assault and battery with a dangerous weapon
- Desertion of children under the age of 10
- Possession of child pornography, etc.
Some more surprising felonies include:
- Mutilating, treating with indignity, or destroying the flag
- Assisting a suicide
- Commercial gambling
Note: A misdemeanor is a crime deemed less serious than a felony. However, there are some crimes in Oklahoma that can be charged as either one.
What rights do you lose with felony convictions in Oklahoma?
Felons in Oklahoma are prohibited from the following activities:
- Voting during your sentence
- Serving on a jury
- Running for office within 15 years of the end of your sentence
- Being employed by the state of Oklahoma
- Owning or possessing a firearm
However, it’s not just civic rights and duties that felons are barred from. There are also many professions you’ll lose access to if you’re convicted of a felony, including:
- Medicine (including nursing, dentistry, and pharmacy)
- Funeral direction
- Veterinary science
- Real estate
- Psychology and counseling
- Cosmetology, etc.
The good news is that Oklahoma bans state agencies from asking about felony convictions on job applications. The “ban the box” initiative is gaining traction nationwide in an attempt to reform employment opportunities for people who have been convicted of felonies.
The new law doesn’t mean that you will be hired if you have a felony on record, but the felony will not get in the way of you getting an interview and being able to explain the circumstances surrounding your conviction.
What is Oklahoma doing to reduce felony sentences?
Oklahoma has the second-highest incarceration rate in the country, and Oklahoma has the highest female incarceration rate in America.
A task force formed by the governor’s office recommended that the legislature implement dramatic prison sentencing reforms. The task force report recommended the following:
- Allowing many inmates to become eligible for parole after serving ¼ of their sentences.
- Lowering the penalty for methamphetamine, heroin or crack-cocaine possession to zero-five years in prison for a first-time drug conviction.
Contact Jacqui Ford Law today
While some initiatives are being taken to improve conditions for people with felony convictions, these efforts are slow-moving. If you are being charged with a felony, it’s imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case. Call Jacqui Ford Law today for help.