If you are facing an assault charge in Oklahoma, it is very important to understand the specific charge against you. Assault and battery can range from a simple misdemeanor offense to a serious felony associated with a lengthy prison term.
Regardless of the severity of your charge, finding legal defense representation maximizes your potential for a successful outcome. Coventon Criminal Defense can provide the legal counsel and defense representation you need for the optimal resolution to your case.
While assault and battery are frequently charged together, they are actually separate offenses under Oklahoma law.
State law in 21 O.S. § 641 defines assault as “any willful and unlawful attempt or offer with force or violence to do a corporal hurt to another.” In other words, assault is the attempt or threat to do bodily harm to another person.
While assault is the threat of force or violence, battery is the use of force or violence (§ 642).
On its own, assault is a misdemeanor punished by a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Assault and battery in general is likewise a misdemeanor. The penalty associated with conviction is a maximum of 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Although simple assault and battery is a misdemeanor, the penalties and the charge can quickly escalate when the assault is committed against certain persons, when a dangerous or deadly weapon is used, or when the act results in serious bodily injury.
Assault and battery against a current or former family member, household member, or dating partner is charged as domestic abuse. A first offense of domestic abuse is a misdemeanor that brings a maximum jail term of one year, but subsequent offenses are felonies punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
Other factors that elevate domestic abuse charges include use of a dangerous or deadly weapon, violence in the presence of a child, assault of a pregnant woman, domestic abuse after a prior pattern of physical abuse, domestic abuse by strangulation, and domestic abuse resulting in great bodily injury.
Learn more about domestic violence laws in Oklahoma.
Assault with a sharp or dangerous weapon is a felony. Under § 625, anyone who uses a weapon with the intent to injure another person, although without the intent to kill, is guilty of a felony by 10 years in prison. While this statute lists a few specific “weapons” that are considered dangerous, the reality of the law is that use of any object in the commission of an assault or assault and battery can be construed as the use of a dangerous weapon. Dangerous weapons may include knives, screwdrivers, hammers, frying pans, vehicles, and more. At least one Oklahoma man has been charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for striking someone with a laptop computer. If an object is used to inflict injury, it will likely be considered a dangerous weapon, even if “weapon” is not its primary use.
Even in the absence of a dangerous weapon, an assault can be charged as a felony if it is considered to be aggravated assault and battery.
According to § 646 of the Oklahoma criminal code, aggravated assault and battery occurs under one or more of the following conditions:
Aggravated assault and battery carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.
In some cases, the bodily injury is so great as to be considered maiming. Oklahoma law defines maiming in § 751 as the premeditated and intentional harm of another resulting in “any injury which disfigures his personal appearance or disables any member or organ of his body or seriously diminishes his physical vigor.”
The maximum penalty for maiming is life in prison.
Oklahoma law strengthens assault penalties when an assault and battery is committed against certain people, specifically law enforcement officers; corrections officers; paramedics and emergency workers; officers of the court, witnesses, and jurors; Juvenile Affairs employees; and school employees.
In each case, the penalties vary, but they are more severe than typical assault and battery charges. For example, assault and battery against a law enforcement officer in the commission of his duties is a felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison—significantly greater than the 90 days ascribed to misdemeanor assault and battery.
Aggravated assault and battery of law officers is punishable by a maximum of life in prison. If the act results in maiming, the sentence is 5 years to life.
Often, assault charges may be the result of a misunderstanding, self defense, mutual combat, or another incident that has you facing undeserved criminal charges. If you were involved in an altercation leading to assault charges, call for a free, confidential case review with Oklahoma attorney Ryan Coventon.