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How Does the Judge Decide on a Criminal Sentence?

How Does the Judge Decide on a Criminal Sentence?

When a criminal defendant gets sentenced for a crime, the judge decides the ultimate sentence based on several different factors. Sentencing happens after the jury comes back with a guilty verdict or after the defendant pleads guilty. A plea of guilty could happen at the initial hearing when the defendant is charged, or more often after the defendant reaches a deal with the prosecutor to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence or probation. Factors that affect sentencing could include: A mandatory minimum sentence set by law for a certain crime Repeat offenses Characteristics of the victim or the crime ...

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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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Defenses to Oklahoma Criminal Drug Charges

Defenses to Oklahoma Criminal Drug Charges

When you hire a criminal defense attorney because you were charged with a drug crime, your attorney will develop any defenses you have. Defenses are reasons why you did not commit a crime, why you cannot be convicted of a crime, or why evidence against you should be thrown out of court. For drug crimes specifically, there are a number of different defenses that may apply depending on the facts of your case. Elements of the Crime Not Proved Attorneys often argue either that the prosecution did not prove all the elements of the crime. The elements of the crime are the...

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Criminal Conspiracy Charges in Oklahoma

Criminal Conspiracy Charges in Oklahoma

Oklahoma law criminalizes conspiracy to commit a crime, even if the accused does not commit the planned crime itself. A criminal conspiracy involves a group of people working together to plan or execute a criminal act. To prove that a person is guilty of criminal conspiracy, the prosecution must show that (1) there was an agreement among two or more people (including the accused) to commit a crime, and (2) at least one person took an overt act in furtherance of the agreement to commit a crime. 21 O.S. ยง 421. Again, it does not matter whether the co-conspirators actually commit...

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What Does an Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Do?

What Does an Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Do?

If you have been charged with a crime, you may be thinking about whether you need to hire a defense lawyer. Many people have questions about what lawyers will do for their case. Defense lawyers work for you, investigate the facts behind the charges against you, determine the best defenses for your case, and argue your case in court. Defense Lawyers Investigate Your Case Criminal defense lawyers investigate the charges filed against their clients to determine important facts for their defense in court. For example, defense lawyers interview witnesses who were at the scene of an accident and talk to friends and...

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DUI Vehicle Forfeiture: Is It Legal?

DUI Vehicle Forfeiture - Is It Legal?

Oklahoma law permits DUI vehicle forfeiture, meaning the state could take your vehicle away because you violated DUI laws. Many citizens are shocked to learn that the courts allow civil asset forfeiture on a regular basis against criminal defendants. Not just any DUI driver can have his car seized. The law is very specific about which offenses could lead to forfeiture. First, you must have at least two DUI offenses on your record. If you have two offenses, the first one must be within 10 years of the second one, and at least one of the two offenses must have involved...

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Double Jeopardy and Drunk Driving Offenses

Double Jeopardy and Drunk Driving Offenses

The Double Jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents defendants from being tried twice for the same crime on the same facts after a conviction or acquittal. The Supreme Court has never addressed whether charging DUI defendants with multiple criminal and civil offenses for the same incident violates the Double Jeopardy clause of the Constitution. Multiple Supreme Court decisions regarding other crimes indicate that making this argument has at least some merit. In Benton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784 (1969), a defendant was tried for burglary and larceny. After he was convicted of burglary but acquitted...

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What Is a Felony? What Is a Misdemeanor?

What Is a Felony? What Is a Misdemeanor?

You may have heard that Oklahoma can charge a person with a misdemeanor for his first drunk driving offense. You may have heard about the changes to the Oklahoma statute that voters approved in November, making drug possession a misdemeanor. You may have heard that Oklahoma places people charged with misdemeanors in a different correctional facility than those charged with a felony. But you may be wondering, what really is a misdemeanor, and why is it different from a felony? Generally, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is punishable by no more than 12 months in jail. Courts often sentence...

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