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  • What are my rights as a criminal defendant in Oklahoma?

    What are my rights as a criminal suspect or a person accused of a crime?

    You are granted certain rights under both the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions.  Assert and protect your right by contacting Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers Compton Law Firm. Compton Law Criminal Defense attorneys can help you assert and protect your rights.

    The Constitutions of the United States and Oklahoma each guarantee our citizens certain basic rights, including the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures  In matters of criminal law and investigation, you must know your rights.  The basics are:

    • The right to remain silent
    • The right to legal counsel
    • The right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
    • The right to subpoena witnesses
    • The right to a speedy trial, free from unreasonable delays
    • The right to a jury trial
    • The right to due process of law
    • The right to be free from double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same crime)
    • The right to an appeal

    Even before you are placed under arrest, the Constitution of the United States guarantees you certain rights. The following are an expanded explanation of some of the more basic rights, but it is not a complete list. You have many other constitutional rights.

    Right to Remain Silent:

    “I do want to cooperate, but only after I have retained an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer”

    When the police ask to speak to you, you have the right to remain silent.  You must know that anything and everything you say to the police will be used against you.  You may talk to the police about the crime they arrested you for, but you are not required. If you do start talking to the police, you may stop talking at any time during the interview or interrogation and ask for a lawyer.  Best practice is to say “I do want to cooperate but only after I have retained an Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer.”  At that point the law enforcement officer must ask no more questions.  You have the right to ask to have an attorney when the police want to question you. If you ask for any attorney the police cannot ask you any questions until you have spoken with an attorney. If you cannot afford to pay for an attorney, the court may appoint a lawyer to represent you if the court believes you do not have enough money to hire one.

    You are not required to talk to the police when questioned about a crime. Exercise your rights – NEVER EVER NEVER give a statement without legal representation.  Anything you say likely will be tape recorded or videotaped with or without your knowledge.

    Right to be Represented by a Lawyer:

    Right to a Lawyer: The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to have counsel before giving any statements or submitting to questioning.  OUR TOP TIP AND PIECE OF ADVICE IS: Retain an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney BEFORE you make any statements to the police. This is your most significant constitutional right. Contact us now.

    You have the right to have a lawyer. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you can submit the appropriate application, called “Pauper’s Affidavit,” which asks the judge to appoint a lawyer to represent you. One good reason to be represented by a lawyer is to make sure your rights have not been violated. Another reason is to ensure that you get all the evidence you need to defend yourself. Many times a lawyer knows the kind of evidence that is best suited for a good defense. Never represent yourself in Court – The best criminal defense attorneys don’t even represent themselves.

    Right to Confront the Witnesses Against You:

    You have the right for your lawyer to ask questions of every witness against you if you go to trial.

    Right Not to be Stopped and Searched Without a Good Cause:

    Law enforcement officers must have a good reason (probable cause) before they arrest you or search you or your property. In some cases the officer must first get a judge to issue a search warrant. In other cases, such as routine traffic stops for traffic violations, there must be some good reason why officers suspect you may be committing a crime before they may search without a warrant. If the police do not have an arrest or search warrant and ask to search you or your property, you have the right to refuse.  You can easily say I do not consent to any search and you may lawfully refuse their request to search. If the police stop you and ask you to identify yourself or show ID, you must comply. However, after you have told the police your name you have the right to tell the officer you do not want to answer any other questions or speak with them until you have spoken with an attorney

    Right to be Free From Unreasonable Searches or Seizures:

    The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless an officer presents proper credentials and a search warrant, do not allow any search of your body, home, garage, business, computer, car, boat or other dwelling or property.

    If the police present with a valid search warrant you must comply but never consent.  If there is a warrant, ask to read it. Then ask the officers if you may watch as the police search and ask to call your lawyer before the search.  It is not uncommon for someone ( your spouse, children, friend, acquaintance, or stranger) to have placed or left contraband or other evidence of a crime in or on your property WITHOUT YOU KNOWING. This happens all the time!! So NEVER allow a search without a warrant. If asked whether it will be okay to search, say “no, I do not consent” and call your lawyer.

    Right to Bail:

    Generally, you have the right to a reasonable bail if arrested. The primary issues should be whether you are a risk of flight or a danger to the community. In Oklahoma County, there is a standard bail or bond schedule which is generally applied, but bond is occasionally denied.   You do need to know that if you post bail you will be entitled to a state-paid criminal defense attorney and you would be required to hire a private one.

    Right to Subpoena:

    If you choose to demand a trial, you have the right to compulsory process or to subpoena witnesses, regardless of whether the witness agrees to cooperate. If you serve the witnesses with process, they must attend hearings and give testimony (thus the right of confronting your accusers).  You have only a limited right to subpoena witnesses or documents at a preliminary hearing.

    Right to a Speedy and  Public Trial:

    The Sixth Amendment guarantees a “speedy trial” without unreasonable delays. This does not mean that you receive an immediate trial, but factors are analyzed to determine whether the delay is reasonable and whether there is any prejudice caused by an unreasonable delay. Also, your trial must be open to the public (except in certain juvenile settings).  It is not uncommon to waive your right to a speedy trial.

    Right to a Trial by Jury:

    You are entitled to a jury trial, unless both you and the government agree to a trial before the judge. If you demand a trial, a jury of six or twelve qualified persons must be empanelled to hear your case depending on whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor.

    Right to a Unanimous  Verdict: To be convicted, the jury must unanimously find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In most felony cases, twelve people must agree that you are guilty of the crime charged; otherwise, you cannot be found guilty. If the jury reaches an impasse, the jury may be hung or split. Under these circumstances, you can be tried again.

    Right to be Free from Subsequent Trials (Double Jeopardy): The Fifth Amendment states that no person be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense. If the jury unanimously agrees that you are not guilty, then you cannot be tried again for that crime.

    Right to Appeal: Generally, you have an appeal of right if you are convicted at trial. If you enter into a plea bargain or if you simply plead guilty, you may waive certain rights to appeal. You have the right to counsel on appeal and if you cannot afford an attorney, one is generally appointed for your first appeal. You generally do not have the right to counsel for second or subsequent appeals.

    Right to Due Process: Generally speaking, this means that you must be given the opportunity of a fair trial or to fair procedures and that certain rights or privileges or property cannot be taken from you except under special circumstances.

    Right to Equal Protection: This right is intended to give all persons, regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion or gender, the same protections or rights. In other words, no person or class of people shall be denied the protections enjoyed by others or classes in like circumstances.

    THE BILL OF RIGHTS

    The Bill of Rights is the First Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution, and are as follows:

    Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Amendment III: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

    Amendment VII: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

     

    If you are facing criminal prosecution and need a criminal defense attorney, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) so we can immediately get started on your case.

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  • How do I get out of Jail after an arrest in Oklahoma?

    How do I get out of Jail after an Arrest in Oklahoma?

     TOP TIP: If you know or suspect you might be arrested, retain an attorney.  Many times the criminal defense attorney can negotiate a reduced bond or an "OR" bond so that you can utilize that money to hire a criminal defense lawyer rather than paying a bail bondsman.

    After requesting a lawyer, your next step after an arrest should be to get out of jail as quickly as possible. Generally, your bail amount will be set by the judge and you have several available methods for getting out of jail:

    • Post a cash bond – Pay the bond yourself to ensure that you meet all court appearances. If you successfully appear for all court dates, your bond will be returned to you at the end of your case. If you fail to appear, you forfeit your bond and may be required to return to jail pending the resolution of your case.
    • Hire a bail bondsman – A bail bondsman may post bond for you in return for a percentage of the bond amount. At the end of your case, the bond will be returned to the bondsman and you forfeit the amount paid to the bondsman. If you ever fail to appear for your court dates, the bondsman will send a bounty hunter to find you and return you to jail
    • Be released on an Own Recognizance Bond – If a jail is at capacity, you have been arrested on a complaint of a minor offense, and/or you have no history of failure to appear, a booking officer may release you on your own recognizance. In this case, you do not have to post a cash bond, but you may be returned to jail or be required to pay a significant bond if you fail to appear.

    In the most serious cases, a judge may order a defendant to be held without bond. In other cases, your defense attorney may be able to successfully motion for a reduced bond amount.

    If you need an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney to help get you or a loved one out of jail, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).  Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.

  • What should I do after I have been arrested in Oklahoma?

    What should I do after I have been arrested in Oklahoma?

    Hire an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney: Immediately and BEFORE you make any Statements.  You have a constitutional right to remain silent and a right to counsel.  If you know you are being investigated, hire and attorney prior to Arrest. Call Compton Law at 405-542-2529, if we can’t help you we can recommend someone that can. contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).

    Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.

    AT MINIMUM: If you are placed under arrest, it is important that you do not resist arrest, as your resistance can only lead to further criminal charges and additional complications. Rather, be cooperative but protect your right to remain silent. Do not say anything to investigators or police without first consulting your attorney. Ask to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can provide skillful legal counsel from the outset of your case and can help you avoid making critical mistakes that could jeopardize your defense.

    Be polite and respectful with police: Being rude and argumentative will not help you at this point – and if you disrespect or upset the police officer you are only making things worse.  There is no need to complain about the stop or arrest or ague with the police. You need to stay calm and control your emotions.

    Ask if you are under arrest: If you are under arrest, you have the right to be notified of why you have been arrested. Also ask for the officer’s name and badge number and remember the patrol car number if possible. 

    Do NOT give a voluntary statement: You are NOT required to talk to the police when questioned about a crime. Exercise your rights because you cannot be prosecuted for refusing to give a statement, but you can be prosecuted for giving a false or misleading statement. If you give a statement, it can be used against you. The Miranda warnings do NOT apply to voluntary statements. If you are not under arrest or otherwise “in custody,” then those statements can be used against you even without reading the Miranda warnings (“your rights”) to you. Anything you say likely will be tape recorded or videotaped with or without your knowledge. To avoid problems and legal fees later, don’t give any voluntary statements. Likewise, do NOT discuss facts of an alleged crime with family members, friends, co-workers, spouses, children, your accountant, etc. There is no privilege to protect your statements to these persons, so exercise your right to silence.  In the vast majority of cases, giving a statement to the police only serves to either secure a confession or give them the evidence needed to arrest you…whether you realize it or not.

    NEVER resist arrest or touch the officer: Resisting arrest will never ever help you and it will only add more charges and make your legal situation more difficult and costly for you and your lawyer. Never touch or threaten the officer, as the police will add “assault & battery on an officer” charges, which alone carries significant punishment. Do NOT run. If you run, innocent or not, the jury can be told you fled the scene.  Moreover, if someone is injured or killed in your pursuit you can be criminally and civilly liable.

    Do NOT interfere with or obstruct the police but don’t Assist:  Don’t consent to a search, but do not interfere either.  You do not have to confront the officer to protect your rights, it is easy enough to say I”I understand you have to do your job, but I do not consent to a search.” On the other hand, you do not want to interrupt or interfere with the officer while he/she is interviewing others or searching. Generally speak only when asked (see above–do not give a voluntary statement) and do not assist in showing items or documents or explaining what happened. Do NOT attempt to obstruct the officers in their duties or to destroy evidence or contraband. Interfering or obstruction an officer in his official duty is a separate crime.

    Do NOT allow searches or seizures: The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless an officer presents proper credentials and a search warrant, NEVER allow any search of your body, home, garage, business, computer, car, boat or other dwelling or conveyance or property. ONLY when the police have a valid search warrant signed by a judge is it appropriate to give permission to search. If there is a warrant, ask to read the papers before granting permission so that you know the scope of the warrant. Then ask the officers if you may watch as they search and ask to call your lawyer before the search. You never know whether your spouse, children or perhaps a friend or acquaintance (or even a stranger) may have placed or left contraband or other evidence of a crime in or on your property.  Police Officer’s are very well trained in attempting to overcome your initial denial of consent to search… they may use psychological tools and say things such as “it’s just a quick look and we’ll get you out of here,” or “set tight and we’ll take a quick look, you don’t mind, do you,” “since you have X, you don’t mind if I check out to see if you have Y,” “only guilty people don’t let us search and since you have noting to hide you don’t mind if we take a quick peek.”   Be mindful of these tricks and maintain your position that  “you understand they must do their job but you cannot consent to a warrantless search.”

    Do NOT give any samples–Body Fluids, Blood, Fingerprints, Handwriting Samples, Clothing or Shoes, etc.: The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination. Just like a search, NEVER voluntarily give these samples.  If asked to give these samples, call Compton Law immediately at 405-542-2529.  Do NOT give samples (1) without obtaining a lawyer to represent your interest, or (2) without a court order.  If you have been ordered to provide these samples you need legal representation immediately!!  First, there are situations when samples simply should not be given and second you need to ensure the samples are taken properly and potentially sent for independent analysis.  Forensic testing are not without fault. We have all heard about the true numerous instances where innocent people have been wrongfully convicted and even sentenced to death on bad samples. Protect your rights and do not be one of them.

    DUI/DWI CASES:  under Oklahoma Law you are required to give a breath or blood test during a stop for an alcohol-related offense (DUI, DWI, or APC or an injury accident). If you refuse to give a test, it will result in loss of your driver’s license and could also impact a criminal charge.  There is much more to read and learn about DUI breath test under our DUI section and in our FAQS, BLOG, and LIBRARY.  However, you are required to give the STATE’S TEST, you will be notified and read some information prior to giving the STATE’S TEST.  The initial breath test sample in the police car IS NOT THE STATE’S TEST and you can AND SHOULD refuse to take this test.

    Do NOT take a polygraph or lie-detector test: A polygraph is NOT admissible in court. Giving a polygraph test will only serve to gather additional evidence against you and damage your case.  Even if you think you have noting to hide and “pass” a polygraph, the police will not necessarily clear you. In fact, they will probably just add certain things they learned to their investigative report.

    Do NOT talk to the press or give interviews: Consult your attorney BEFORE talking to the press or giving interviews. Your attorney must strategically weigh the options before commenting on the facts. There are times when it may be appropriate and recommended to cooperate with the press, but timing is everything. If contacted by media, you naturally will want to “clear” your name. Simply say “My attorney will not let me comment, thank you”

    Be truthful with your attorney: Your attorney cannot help you unless the attorney knows the facts…ALL THE FACTS.  It is human nature not to want to admit certain things we have done, but withholding information from your attorney is one of the most damaging things you can do to your case.  Your attorney will deploy certain strategies based on what he/she has learned and what you have told.   Intentional misinformation almost always comes to light down the road during the case and results in your attorney being surprised at inopportune times, such as during a hearing, deposition or trial.  You’ve hired an attorney to provide the best possible defense for you and its best to fully inform that attorney so that he/she can provide the best possible strategy.

     

    If you need an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney to represent you or a family member after an arrest, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).  Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.

  • How are Oklahoma Criminal Plea Deals Negotiated?

    How are Oklahoma Criminal Pleas Negotiated?

    Unfortunately, there is no Constitutional right nor a statutory right to a plea agreement. However, the reality of the Oklahoma criminal process is that the vast majority of criminal cases MUST end in a plea bargain.  If every criminal case was taken to a jury the system would collapse.  Moreover, many criminal defendants simply cannot afford a trial. 

    Regardless of guilt or innocence, there are many reasons why a plea agreement is made.  The old saying is true – it is not whether the defendant is guilty, it’s what can be proven at trial.    Plea negotiations are generally a hedge against the unknown.  Do you take what is known and on the table or do you place your future and freedom in the hands of a jury – many people elect to take the known.   In the majority of cases, very soon in the case a prosecuting attorney will make “recommendations” which are what he would offer to resolve the case for and recommend to the judge should the defendant plead guilty or no-contest.  

    Compton Law Firm makes an effort to identify the initial recommendations early in the process and then we undertake a defense and investigation of the case.  When then utilize our defense strategies to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to reduce the recommendations or dismiss the charges.  During the process we communicate the prosecution's response to our clients so we can make an informed decision to either accept the plea deal or proceed on to trial.

    If you need an attorney to represent you during plea negotiations, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).  Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.

  • What happens at the District Court Arraignment?

    Oklahoma District Court Arraignment

    Not to be confused with you initial arraignment or bond hearing, this will be the first hearing after the Preliminary Hearing.  You will be advised of the charges and then you will plead to the charges.  You and your attorney will fill out an Oklahoma Criminal Arraignment form and the judge will schedule certain future court appearances including discovery cutoff, motions deadlines, motions heading, disposition hearings, pre-trial, and trial dates.

    If you need an attorney to represent you at your District Court Arraignment, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).  Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.

  • What is the Oklahoma Auto Accident Insurance Claim Process

    Oklahoma Auto Accident Insurance Claim Process

    It is important to contact an Oklahoma Auto Accident lawyer before speaking with an insurance company.  Once you have been in an accident you have entered into a legal battleground where you are significantly disadvantaged without proper legal representation.

    An auto accident insurance claim always begins with an accident. If you are involved in a car accident, there are some very important things you should do at the accident scene, first opportunity, call the police and emergency medical personnel. 

    After you have contacted your attorney he/she will report the accident with your insurance carrier and begin the process of filing a claim. After submitting, a claims adjuster (someone who works for the insurance company and deals exclusively with claims) will either call, write or email the attorney regarding your claim. He or she will then look at your policy to determine the types of coverage you have, deductibles, and any coverage limits that may affect your claim.  (i.e. they will make legal and contractual decision about whether they are going to pay or not).  If make the slightest error or say something wrong, your claim could be denied.

    If your claim is simple (i.e., fault is not at issue, the damage was minimal, and little or no medical treatment was necessary), the adjuster will probably want you to get an estimate for repairs and then send you a check. You and your attorney will have to fill out some paperwork, but you probably will not have to meet with the adjuster in person. If your claim is more complicated (for example, liability is unclear, you do not have enough coverage in your policy, or you do not agree with your adjuster’s settlement offer), then the negotiation process will take longer and a lawsuit may need to be filed.  More often than not, if you are injured and have car damage, the property damage portion will be settled first and then your injury claim will continue until you are completed with medical treatment and care.

    After we receive sufficient information to file an insurance claim with the other party’s insurance company, we will begin the same process with them.  The process is drastically different as they have no legal obligation to you whatsoever and their primary goal is to get the claim settled and closed as quickly and cheaply as possible.

    Investigating Your Automobile Accident Claim

    In relatively complicated injury accident cases your attorney and the insurance adjusters typically must do some investigation in order to adequately assess the insurance company’s liability. The adjuster will comb through your policy and possibly contact witnesses to the accident, the other party to the accident, look at the police report if there is one, take photographs of the damages and scene of the accident and generally investigate your medical expenses by sending out requests to your medical providers for information regarding your treatment. If you are seeking to have medical bills covered, the adjuster will send you a medical authorization form for the release of your medical records.  It is important to always speak to an attorney first before signing any documents or speaking to an adjuster.

    After our investigative process, we might hire certain experts such as medical experts, life care planners, accident scene reconstructionist, damage experts, engineers, and visual demonstration experts.  After all the reports are completed we package up into a settlement demand and submit to the insurance company.  In complicated or high damage cases it is not uncommon for us to file a lawsuit before this process.

    The Settlement Offer

    Once we have submitted the demand packet and the adjuster has investigated your claim and looked at your policy, he or she will typically respond to our settlement demand with an offer to settle you auto accident claim.  How much is your claim worth?  It is impossible to say because each and every case is different.  The damages depend on many factors such as the level and severity of the collision, amount of bodily injuries, amount and duration of medical treatment,  whether any scaring or disfigurement is present, and the extent of nerve damage.   Because there is no exact science to the evaluation of an injury claim, the adjuster will likely have a settlement range.  The settlement offer will tell you what the insurance company is willing to pay on your claim and the initial offer is almost always at the bottom level of this range.  The offer could be all, it could be part, it could be none. This opening offer is typically on the low side. After all, the adjuster’s job is to save his or her employer money. But the adjuster also wants to close a case and thus is typically allowed a settlement range that offers room for negotiation.

    Negotiating with the Claims Adjuster

    Once your attorney has received an opening offer from the adjuster, keep in mind that opening offers for settlement are almost always on the low side. Then, we generally work to understand what particular point of contention the adjuster has with our demand packet.  Is it a legal issue regarding insurance coverage?  Is it a legal issue regarding medical treatment or injuries?  Or is the insurance adjuster simply trying to get out for a little as possible.  Generally we try several round of negotiation before filing a lawsuit; however, once we reach an impasse with the adjuster we file a lawsuit in the District Court.

    If Your Auto Accident Claim Is Denied

    If your claim is denied in whole or in part, there could be many legitimate and reasonable reasons. Most have to do with limits in your coverage or police exclusions. You can check the denial letter against your policy to see if the denial seems legitimate or not. If you have not retained us, the insurance attorneys at Compton Law will perform a free insurance coverage analysis for you.   But whatever you decide to do, don’t wait too long to do it. If you sit on your claim for too long, you may lose the right to sue in court to get your recovery. Oklahoma has fairly short statute of limitations (a time limit for filing a lawsuit in court).

  • What is a Bind Over Order in Oklahoma criminal proceedings?

    What is a Bind-Over Order in Oklahoma?

    If the judge presiding over the preliminary hearing finds the prosecution has met its burden, then the judge will issue a “bind over” order. The Defendant will then have to appear for District Court Arraignment in front of the District Judge assigned to his or her case.  It is important to note that the burden of proof for the prosecution here is probable cause, which is very very low.  Preliminary hearings almost always result in the defendant being bound over for trial – not a defendant’s case being dismissed.  Even if the case is dismissed, the prosecution will likely just go back to the drawing board, get more evidence, and re-file the case.  However, the Preliminary hearing is a unique opportunity for the defense to get a good look at the evidence and understand how the state’s witnesses might act and present to a jury.   

    It is not uncommon for some Defendant’s to waive his or her Preliminary Hearing if best strategy dictates or if it would damage plea negotiations.

    If you have been bound over for trial and need an attorney to represent you at your criminal trial proceedings, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).  Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.

  • What happens during an Oklahoma Criminal Preliminary Hearing?

    What Happens During Oklahoma Preliminary Hearings?

    Essentially the preliminary hearing is a court hearing where witnesses testify and the judge decides whether there is enough evidence against you to order you to have a trial.

    If you are charged with a felony in Oklahoma you have the right to a preliminary hearing.  The Oklahoma Constitution guarantees all individuals charged by information with a felony the right to a Preliminary Hearing. A Preliminary Hearing is an evidentiary hearing in front of a judge at which the prosecution must present enough evidence to give the judge probable cause the alleged crime was committed. Specifically, the prosecutor must present enough evidence to show the court:

    • probable cause that a crime was committed, and 
    • probable cause that the defendant committed the crime.

    If the court believes there is enough evidence to believe a crime was committed and enough evidence to believe you committed the crime (probable cause), the court will “bind you over” for trial. If the court does not believe there is enough evidence, the case is dismissed. The prosecutor is not required to present all of their witnesses or all of the evidence they have collected. They are only required to present enough evidence to meet the probable cause standard. The judge, by law, must consider all the evidence in a light most favorable to the state. He must also assume the state’s case will get better by trial.

    If you need an attorney to represent you at your preliminary hearing, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).  Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.

  • What is a preliminary hearing conference "PHC" and what happens during the PHC?

    What happens during Oklahoma Preliminary Hearing Conferences

    After the arraignment and attorney appearance hearing the next Oklahoma criminal hearing to take place is a preliminary hearing conference ("PHC").  Although this hearing takes place in open court it is generally just an opportunity for the prosecution and defense to discuss the case and determine whether additional plea negations should be had or whether the case should proceed to a Preliminary Hearing.  It is not uncommon for there to be two or more preliminary hearing conferences. 

    The prosecutor may make a plea bargain offer which you and your attorney will discuss. If you decide to accept the offer, you would waive or give up your right to a trial and set your case for a date for you to plead guilty. If you do not accept the plea offer, you will have your case set for a preliminary hearing or trial.

    If you need an attorney to represent you at a preliminary hearing conference, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).  Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.

  • What happens at the initial Arraignment in Oklahoma criminal proceedings?

    What happens at an Arraignment (initial) in Oklahoma?

    If the Defendant bonded out according to a set schedule without appearing before a judge, this will be the initial court appearance where the judge will read the charges against you, you enter a plea, and the Judge advises you of the next court date. If you bonded out of jail before arraignment, your bond will generally stay the same unless additional charges are filed, or if you have a prior felony conviction.

    It is important to note that during a criminal proceeding in Oklahoma there are generally two arraignments 1: the initial arraignment where the judge reads the charges to you for the first time and you enter a plea to the charges; and 2: the district court arraignment where the same occurs again, but later in the process after a Preliminary Hearing.

    If you need an attorney to represent you at your arraignment hearing, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW).  Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.