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The Patterson Law Firm

What Is the Oklahoma Meth Registry?

What Is the Oklahoma Meth Registry?

Oklahoma’s strict drug crime laws include extremely strict laws on methamphetamines. The state legislature created the Oklahoma Methamphetamine Offender Registry Act to keep people with previous methamphetamine convictions from purchasing the supplies needed to make meth. The Act requires the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control to maintain a registry of people convicted of methamphetamine-related crimes. 63 O.S. § 2-701. Anyone who is convicted of a crime based on a guilty or nolo contendere plea, who receives a suspended or deferred sentence, who is on parole or probation for these crimes will be on the registry. Crimes implicated include possession,...

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Overview of Federal Drug Crimes

Overview of Federal Drug Crimes

Similar to Oklahoma law, federal law prohibits the possession, sale, distribution, manufacture, and trafficking of drugs. When someone accused of a drug crime is charged under federal rather than state law, usually the alleged crime was committed on federal land (such as airports) or it took place in multiple states. Federal drug laws differ from Oklahoma drug laws because of the different penalties, different classifications of drugs, and sometimes, different elements of the crime. Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, the main federal law prohibiting drug crimes, in 1970. It is also known as the Controlled Substances...

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What Is Conditional Release in Oklahoma?

What Is Conditional Release in Oklahoma?

Conditional release, also called conditional discharge, gives those charged with a crime the opportunity to avoid jail time and criminal records while obeying court-ordered restrictions and requirements. It is one of the diversion programs Oklahoma uses to lower costs, relieve overcrowded jails, and give small-time offenders a second chance. Oklahoma offers a diversion program of conditional discharge for people charged drug possession as their first drug-related offense. If the court so chooses, or as part of a bargain with the prosecutor, the person accused will not be found guilty of possession. Instead, the court will defer any further sentencing and obtain...

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Child Endangerment and Drunk Driving

Child Endangerment and Drunk Driving

Driving drunk with a child in the car can have serious consequences. In Oklahoma, not only can drivers be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, but they can face increased sentences and child endangerment charges. Oklahomans receive child endangerment charges frequently because their children are in the backseat while they drive drunk. Under Oklahoma law, child endangerment occurs when a parent, guardian, or person who has custody or control of a child either: Is the driver, operator, or person in physical control of a vehicle who is driving under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance while transporting...

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How Cops Find Drugs During Traffic Stops

How Cops Find Drugs During Traffic Stops

A person pulled over for suspected DUI or another driving offense may find himself in more trouble if police search the vehicle. If law enforcement finds evidence of another crime, such as illegal drugs, in the vehicle, they can charge you with that crime too. A simple traffic infraction could escalate to much more serious criminal charges. Usually, police need a warrant to search cars. During traffic stops, however, they can search vehicles without a warrant for several reasons. First, police may search a vehicle incident to a driver’s arrest. Often this type of search is legally permitted because police reasonably...

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Can the Court Require Rehab for a Drug Crime?

Can the Court Require Rehab for a Drug Crime?

In Oklahoma, rehab has become a common part of a criminal sentence for a drug-related crime. Courts often specifically require people to complete a drug and alcohol assessment, called an ADSAC assessment, and then complete a state-licensed rehab program. Further, rehab is frequently part of first-time offender diversion programs such as conditional discharge. Those convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol usually receive sentences that include completion of an Alcohol and Drug Substance Abuse Course (ADSAC), which includes some type of treatment program depending on the ADSAC assessment’s findings. The ADSAC program helps people whose driver’s licenses were...

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New Report Recommends 0.05 BAC Limit

A new report encourages states to adopt a 0.05 blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers accused of driving under the influence. In a study sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a non-profit group called the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examined drunk driving fatalities over the past 30 years and the costs associated with enforcement of DUI laws. The National Academies concluded that lowering the BAC limit – making it easier for drivers to be arrested – and changing a host of strategies for combatting drunk driving would lower fatalities. This latest report is far from the...

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Sentence Enhancements for Drug Crimes Involving Children

Sentence Enhancements for Drug Crimes Involving Children

In Oklahoma, committing drug crimes that involve children leads to increased jail time and penalties. Specifically, the criminal sentence for the underlying crime will be doubled or tripled, with other restrictions imposed. This is known as a sentence enhancement. Drug court judges may impose sentence enhancements for people who use minors to distribute or transport drugs, for people who distribute drugs near schools, and for people who possess or buy drugs near schools or in the presence of young children. The enhancements emphasize the state’s focus on keeping drugs away from children under age 18 – both for safety reasons and...

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Drug Distribution and Trafficking: More Serious than Possession

Drug Distribution and Trafficking: More Serious than Possession

In Oklahoma, a conviction of drug distribution, trafficking, or manufacturing is much more serious than possession of drugs because of the harsher sentences imposed. As discussed in a previous blog, possession of many common drugs carries a 5-year sentence for a first offense with a fine of $5,000. Subsequent convictions lead to longer sentences and larger fines, up to 15 years in prison and $10,000. 63 O.S. 2-402(B)(1). In contrast, distribution of Schedule I or II narcotics is a felony and carries sentences ranging from 5 years to life in prison and a $100,000 fine. These penalties also apply to anyone...

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Which Drugs Are Illegal in Oklahoma?

Which Drugs Are Illegal in Oklahoma?

With State Question 788 in the Oklahoma news on a weekly basis, you may be wondering which drugs are illegal in Oklahoma. The ballot initiative would legalize marijuana for medical use only with a doctor’s recommendation. Currently, marijuana and many other drugs are illegal in Oklahoma. Oklahoma law divides drugs into five different categories, called “schedules”, depending on characteristics shared by different drugs. The drugs are referred to as “controlled dangerous substances” (CDS) under the law. Possession, distribution, and manufacturing of CDS carry different penalties depending on the drug and the schedule to which it belongs. The categories are broken down...

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