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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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You Served Your Sentence for a DUI or Drug Crime. Now What?

You Served Your Sentence for a DUI or Drug Crime. Now What?

Finally, you finished serving your sentence for a DUI or a drug crime. Whether you had to spend time in jail or prison, or you had to pay fines and take alcohol education classes, it is all over. Now you may be wondering what is next. Double-Check that You Completed All Terms of the Sentence First, double-check with your lawyer or the court that you have truly completed all the requirements of your sentence. Sometimes there will be a requirement saying that you have to take random BAC tests or check in with a probation officer for months or years after you...

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Other Charges that Accused DUI Drivers Often Face

Other Charges that Accused DUI Drivers Often Face

After you get charged with driving under the influence, you may learn that you face additional unexpected charges. Often, the first time you learn of the charges against you is when you talk to the judge. The entire process can be overwhelming and scary, especially if this is your first DUI charge. Learn a little about the additional charges so you can prepare for what is ahead. Many drivers who are pulled over and arrested for suspected driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are also charged with: Aggravated drunk driving Driving with a revoked or suspended driver’s license Driving...

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Random Breath Testing Devices: What You Need to Know

Random Breath Testing Devices: What You Need to Know

If you pled guilty to a DUI or took a plea deal, the court may require you to do random breath testing using a special device. The device is similar to a breathalyzer that you use at home or at a probation supervisor’s office. Like an ignition interlock device or alcohol monitoring bracelet, it detects alcohol usage in an effort to stop repeat DUIs. How Does a Random Breath Testing Device Work? These devices are very similar to a breathalyzer, except that they often have identity verification features. For example, some random breath testing devices have voice recognition, facial recognition, or picture...

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Swallowing the Evidence: How It May Affect Drug Crime Charges

Swallowing the Evidence: How It May Affect Drug Crime Charges

You have seen it on TV or in a movie – someone swallows the key piece of evidence before the police arrive, and he gets off scot-free. Unfortunately, in real life, things rarely work out so smoothly. Swallowing the evidence can get you in more trouble than the drug crime charges you wanted to avoid. It may seem like a good idea to quickly down the drugs just before the police open the door or walk up to your car. Chances are, however, they already have a reason to be talking to you, such as seeing you purchase drugs or noticing...

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Challenging Municipal Court Charges in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Challenging Municipal Court Charges in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Sometimes Oklahomans are charged with drug or driving under the influence crimes in municipal court, instead of state court. Challenging municipal criminal charges can be a little different than state criminal charges. Why Is Municipal Court Different? Municipal court is different mostly because municipal court judges follow different laws than state court judges. Some major cities in Oklahoma have a different set of laws covering violations such as disturbing the peace, drug possession, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or drunk and disorderly. Sometimes the penalties for violating these laws are lighter than in state court. Was I Charged in State...

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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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New Oklahoma Laws Ease Mandatory Sentences for Drug Crimes

New Oklahoma Laws Ease Mandatory Sentences for Drug Crimes

A slew of new Oklahoma laws ease sentences and imprisonment for drug crimes and crimes often charged alongside drug crimes. These laws, all signed by the governor on April 26, 2018, go into effect in late 2018. First, the law known as SB 649 will reduce sentences for repeat drug offenders convicted of possession. Currently, repeat offenders receive harsher sentences because of their previous drug possession offenses. The new law eliminates those sentencing enhancements. Courts now cannot impose longer sentences on defendants because of their previous convictions for possession of controlled dangerous substances. However, people convicted of other drug crimes may...

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Charged with Aiding and Abetting or Being an Accessory? Your Next Steps

Charged with Aiding and Abetting or Being an Accessory? Your Next Steps

People accused of helping someone commit a crime fall into two categories: aiders and abettors, and accessories. If you have been charged with either aiding and abetting a crime or being an accessory, you probably have questions about these legal terms. An aiding and abetting charge means that prosecutors think the accused encouraged someone to commit a crime or advised him or her in its commission. To prove these charges, the prosecution must show that the aider and abettor acted with criminal intent or that he or she had knowledge of the person who committed the crime’s criminal intent. In other words,...

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The Oklahoma Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act and Its Consequences

The Oklahoma Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act and Its Consequences

In Oklahoma, the Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act prohibits drug crimes involving large amounts of controlled substances. Sentencing requirements for people convicted of drug trafficking have changed in recent years, but Oklahoma still has one of the strictest sets of drug laws in the country. Oklahoma law criminalizes possessing, distributing, manufacturing, or transporting into the state certain quantities of various different controlled dangerous substances. Further, the Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act also prohibits (1) possessing CDS with the intent to manufacture drugs in large quantities and (2) using or soliciting services of a minor to distribute or manufacture a CDS. All...

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