Your Oklahoma City Criminal Case: The Basics

It's 3:00 a.m. and you're driving bleary-eyed to the Oklahoma County Jail. Your brother Javier broke into one of those fancy hotel rooms in downtown and did the unthinkable. He ordered room service -- a warm sticky bun and seasonal berries. Really? He could have at least ordered a nice bottle of Scotch and a 12 ounce filet mignon.

Alas, now you're worried about his bail. He's already on probation for theft and some drug charges from last year. You're looking for answers, but don't know who to call at this hour.

You've come to the right place. Here at FindLaw we've put together some basic information to help you get acquainted with the misdemeanor and felony laws in Oklahoma should you or a loved one get arrested and charged with an Oklahoma City criminal case.

The Police

Let's start with the most obvious: the men and women in uniform. The police can arrest you for a misdemeanor or a felony when they believe they have probable cause you've committed a crime. If you've been arrested, it was likely by one of the following law enforcement agencies: the Oklahoma City Police, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, or the Oklahoma County sheriff. The officer will write up a police report to submit it to the District Attorney's office to review and decide what charges, if any, to file.

Your Constitutional Rights

When the police arrest you, they are required to follow a certain set of rules or their actions could jeopardize the state's case against you. You have a certain group of criminal rights such as your Miranda rights, the right against illegal searches and seizures and right to have a lawyer present during questioning.

How Do I Get Out of Jail?

After getting arrested, you'll either be released on your own recognizance or have to post bond. A bond is insurance to guarantee you'll appear in court for trial. If you fail to appear for a court date, the bond money is forfeited. A bond may be posted in cash, by you or by someone on your behalf. You can also try and get a surety bond through a bail bondsman.

You can go to the Oklahoma County Jail at 201 N Shartel Avenue to post bond anytime, day or night. Bail may generally be posted by cash, by bail bond, or by property bond.

Aren't sure if your loved one is in jail? You can look up arrestee information online.

Remember, when you post a bond, you are guaranteeing that the defendant will appear for all court appearances and abide by all non-financial conditions. Any cash or property posted is subject to forfeiture if the defendant fails to comply with all orders of the court.

Statute of Limitations in Oklahoma

A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Most lawsuits MUST be filed within a certain amount of time. In general, once the statute of limitations on a case "runs out," the prosecutor can't file charges against you.

In Oklahoma, there is no time limit to file charges against you in a murder case. For most other felonies, the time limit is anywhere from three to seven years depending on the type of felony involved. If you are accused of rape or forcible sodomy; sodomy; lewd or indecent acts against children; pornography involving minors; child abuse; and child trafficking the time limit is 12 years from the date the incident was discovered.

The time limit for misdemeanors is three years from the date of the offense.

Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorneys

Since you'll be dealing with the Oklahoma County criminal courts, you might consider speaking to a lawyer. You can hire a criminal defense lawyer or ask for the Broward County public defender.

Oklahoma Criminal Laws

The Penal Code in Oklahoma is long and not particularly user-friendly. There's a crime for just about everything you can think from the reckless behavior to wearing body armor---think bulletproof vest.

Each individual crime carries its own sentence. Criminal offenses are broken down into felonies and misdemeanors. Some states have sub-classes such as Felonies A, B, and C. Oklahoma does not.

Felonies in Oklahoma

A felony is the most serious of crimes and sentencing for convicted felons is much more severe than other crimes. If you are convicted of a felony is Oklahoma you're looking at huge penalties including years of prison time, large fines, and major repercussions for the rest of your life. You can lose some of your rights such as the right to carry a gun. You can also lose the right to vote, or the right to join the military or hold a professional license.

Some Oklahoma City felonies include as perjury, check fraud, copyright infringement, drug offenses and violent crimes such as assault, robbery, rape, and murder.

Anyone convicted of felony crime in Oklahoma may also face other fines and probation, drug and alcohol treatment, and community service, among other things.

Misdemeanors

A misdemeanor in Oklahoma is any crime which is not a felony. Sounds pretty obvious, right? A general rule-of-thumb is that misdemeanors are typically crimes which are punishable by one year or less in county jail. While a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, remember a conviction or guilty plea can have consequences on your career and your freedom. If you are a non-citizen, a misdemeanor can impact your immigration status.

Other possible penalties include fines, probation, community service, and substance abuse treatment. Misdemeanors are crimes that can include public intoxication, drug possession (in extremely small quantities), first offense DUI's, and other minor public offenses.

Oklahoma Expungements and a Final Word

If you've served out your sentence, you may be eligible to have your record expunged. An expungement is a sealing of a public record, usually a criminal arrest or conviction record. Oklahoma law allows for expungements in some cases. To learn more, contact a Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.