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Domestic Violence

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

By July 26, 2022April 5th, 2024No Comments

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.