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Do Drug Penalties Vary by County in Oklahoma?

Do Drug Penalties Vary by County in Oklahoma?

There are 77 counties in Oklahoma, and people convicted of drug crimes may receive varying penalties depending on the county in which they are convicted. It may be surprising to you that state laws about drugs, which supposedly apply to all people in the state, could have uneven application. The reasons for the varying penalties range from geographical to monetary. Geography Alters Charges and Sentences In response to the new law reclassifying drug possession as a misdemeanor, Oklahoma legislators passed another law that makes it a felony to possess drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. (63 O.S. § 2-402.) Rather than...

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Are Dry Counties in Oklahoma History After New Laws Pass?

Are Dry Counties in Oklahoma History After New Laws Pass?

When voters passed State Question 792 in November 2016, they chose to say goodbye to dry counties in Oklahoma. More laws just passed on June 26, 2018 allowing expanded alcohol sales in previously dry counties. Alcohol laws are changing dramatically statewide as a result. State Question 792 took the first step toward modernization of alcohol laws. It standardized beer regulation across the state, doing away with the low-point distinction. Previously, approximately 14 dry counties did not allow any alcohol sales at bars and restaurants except low-alcohol-content beer at some establishments. The only place to buy alcohol was at liquor stores, and...

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Oklahoma Alcohol Laws for Underage Drinkers

Oklahoma Alcohol Laws for Underage Drinkers

Oklahoma has a number of alcohol laws for underage drinkers. If you are under age 21 and planning to drink or charged with an alcohol-related crime, or if you are a parent worried about your child’s drinking, learning about these laws could be very important. Minors Can’t Buy or Possess Alcohol – Even Low-Point Beer Anyone under age 21 cannot purchase alcohol in any public place in the state, even if it is a low-alcohol-content beer or wine cooler. Even being in possession of alcohol in public places is illegal. (37 O.S. §§ 241, 163.2(1).) This means if a minor is sitting...

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More Commonly Asked Questions about a Criminal Case

More Commonly Asked Questions about a Criminal Case

When people face criminal charges for the first time, they probably will hear many unfamiliar words used by law enforcement, judges, and attorneys. The previous blog explored common questions about the people involved in the criminal justice system. This blog discusses some of the terms people hear in court. What is the difference among a hearing, trial, and sentencing? A hearing is a pretrial court appearance. If the prosecutor decides to press charges against someone, he or she will attend a bail hearing and maybe an arraignment, which are hearings at which the judge decides bail and explains the charges. If the...

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What Is a District Attorney? Commonly Asked Questions about a Criminal Case

What Is a District Attorney? Commonly Asked Questions about a Criminal Case

Many people arrested for DUI or drug charges have never been to court or faced criminal charges before. They usually have many questions about the legal process and what to expect. This blog is one in a series that answers frequent inquiries about the criminal process, starting with the major players you may encounter in criminal court. What is a district attorney? A district attorney is a lawyer who acts as representative of the city, county, state, or country in criminal cases. District attorneys are also called prosecutors or attorneys general, depending on the court location and situation. They decide which crimes...

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Oklahoma Drug Courts Do Not Handle Misdemeanors – Why?

Oklahoma Drug Courts Do Not Handle Misdemeanors – Why?

In Oklahoma, many people arrested for drug charges can seek help in drug court rather than going through the traditional legal process. Surprisingly, you cannot go to drug court if you have only a misdemeanor charge – you must have been charged with a felony. Back in 2016, Oklahomans approved State Question 780, which reclassified drug possession and some property crimes as misdemeanors rather than felonies. For example, possession of opiates is now a misdemeanor. Other drug crimes, such as distribution or trafficking, remain felonies under the law. Unfortunately, Oklahoma’s drug courts do not allow misdemeanor offenders to attend. These courts claim...

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Medical Marijuana and State Question 788: What You Need to Know

Medical Marijuana and State Question 788: What You Need to Know

Oklahoma’s marijuana laws keep changing, and the constant stream of news about what is new makes it hard to keep up. Here is what you need to know now about State Question 788 and the future of medical marijuana in Oklahoma. Back on June 26, 2018, Oklahoman voters approved State Question 788, which legalizes medical marijuana. With passage of the bill, people who get the signature of a licensed doctor can obtain a license allowing them to use marijuana. The law also permits possession and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal use only. People with licenses can have three ounces or less...

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4th of July DUI? Your Options and What to Do Next

4th of July DUI? Your Options and What to Do Next

Unfortunately, police arrest many drivers on the Fourth of July or other major holidays for suspected driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you were among them this most recent holiday, you probably have many questions and concerns for the future. What should you do first? If you were arrested in Oklahoma, you only have a short time to contest your driver’s license revocation. You need to immediately request an administrative hearing with the Department of Public Safety. Take a look at the paperwork you received from the police officer when you were pulled over or later from the DPS....

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What Is Drug Court in Oklahoma?

What Is Drug Court in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma counties have drug court programs that the courts use as an alternative to traditional criminal court. The programs establish treatment requirements instead of jail time and probation for drug offenders. Who Can Go to Drug Court? Certain people who plead guilty or are found guilty of non-violent drug-related felonies may attend drug court by applying to a county program. Defendants must agree to participate in drug court instead of traditional sentencing. Offenders who successfully complete the drug court program will not serve jail time. Drug court is not like a criminal court that evaluates evidence and hears cases. In drug court,...

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Can the D.A. Use Evidence of Your Prior Arrests Against You?

Can the D.A. Use Evidence of Your Prior Arrests Against You?

When you are in court for a DUI or a drug crime, you may be concerned that the D.A. will use evidence of your prior arrests against you to secure a conviction. If you were arrested for the same crime previously, you may fear that your previous arrest will be used to show that you committed the crime this time. You will be glad to learn that Oklahoma has limitations on how evidence of previous arrests and convictions can be used in court. Often previous arrests have no relevance to a later arrest, because arrests do not mean that you were...

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