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Domestic violence in Oklahoma carries severe consequences beyond criminal penalties. A conviction leads to imprisonment, hefty fines, loss of firearm rights, and even voting rights. Additionally, it can result in job loss, housing difficulties, and custody battles. 

At Jacqui Ford Law, we recognize the gravity of these repercussions and vigorously defend our clients’ rights. Led by highly recommended criminal defense attorney Jacqui Ford, our team is committed to safeguarding clients from the full impact of domestic violence charges

In this blog, we have outlined the stages that these cases go through. This way, you’ll know what to expect from start to finish.

Who Can Domestic Violence Be Committed Against in Oklahoma?

A charge of domestic violence in Oklahoma arises when someone commits assault or assault and battery against a household member or a person they have an intimate relationship with. 

A charge of domestic abuse in Oklahoma arises when someone commits assault or assault and battery against:

  • A current or former spouse
  • A dating partner (current or former)
  • The parent of one’s children
  • Blood relatives
  • Relatives by marriage (in-laws)
  • Foster parents
  • Current or former cohabitants
  • The spouse of a former spouse

Statute of Limitation for Domestic Violence in Oklahoma

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

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

Some crimes have longer statutes of limitations. However, 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 forward more than three years after a domestic violence event and have law enforcement seek charges against the accused person. However, if they claim that the domestic violence is ongoing and there are recent events within the last three years, charges can still be pursued.

Facing a Domestic Violence Complaint and Investigation

When a victim files a complaint of domestic violence in Oklahoma, it is not up to the victim to decide whether to file criminal charges. Instead, law enforcement makes this decision. 

Law enforcement might witness the incident or receive complaints from others, such as neighbors or family members. Once there is evidence suggesting domestic violence may be occurring, they can initiate an investigation.

Even during the early questioning phase, when details are being gathered, it is advisable to retain an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney. This ensures you do not say or do anything wrong during this early phase of the case.

Arrests for Domestic Violence in Oklahoma

If there is sufficient evidence that domestic violence has occurred, the prosecution may issue a warrant for your arrest. When this happens, exercise your right to remain silent until your Oklahoma defense attorney is present.

Legal Process After Oklahoma Domestic Violence Arrest

The following outlines the key stages of the legal process you will encounter after an arrest for domestic violence, including the following:

  • Pre-trial hearings
  • Plea bargaining and
  • Possibly a trial

1. Pre-trial Hearing

  • What Happens: Following your arrest for domestic violence, you’re required to attend an arraignment hearing in court.
  • Prosecution’s Role: The prosecution will outline the charges against you and ensure you understand your legal rights.
  • Your Response: You’ll be prompted to plead guilty or not guilty. Most lawyers advise pleading not guilty initially, as it keeps your options open for negotiating a plea bargain later.

It’s crucial to discuss your case thoroughly with your attorney at this stage. They will provide tailored advice on the best steps to take based on the details of your case.

2. Plea Bargaining

  • Evidence Review: After the arraignment and before the trial, your defense attorney will thoroughly review the evidence against you to determine its strength.
  • Negotiation Process: Based on the evidence, your attorney may initiate negotiations for a plea bargain with the prosecutor. This typically involves agreeing to lesser charges and reduced sentencing in exchange for a guilty plea.
  • Decision Making: While a plea bargain often requires admitting guilt, the consequences are usually less severe than those that could result from a trial verdict.

Having a skilled lawyer is crucial during this phase. Your attorney can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, encouraging them to negotiate or possibly drop the domestic violence charges altogether.

3. Trial

  • Proceeding to Trial: If plea bargain negotiations fail or your attorney deems the offers unfair, your case will escalate to trial.
  • Prosecution’s Objective: During the trial, the prosecution is tasked with proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They will present evidence and arguments to support their case against you.
  • Defense Strategy: Your attorney will present your defense by introducing witnesses and evidence to counter the prosecution’s claims.

The outcome of the trial, including your guilt or innocence, will ultimately be determined by a judge or jury based on the evidence and arguments presented.

Contact Jacqui Ford To Get Started on Your Defense

If you are accused of a crime or seeking justice as a victim, consult with legal experts to understand the statute of limitations for your case. Knowing these limitations helps you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.

Jacqui Ford Law has been providing reliable criminal defense services to 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.