Oklahoma ranks among the nation’s leaders in cases of domestic abuse, with approximately 20,000 cases of domestic violence reported each year. Recently, the state ranked tenth in the number of females killed by males, and intimate partner violence comprised a large number of these homicides. Domestic violence, or assault and battery against family members, dating partners, or members of the same household is a serious problem for the state, and because of this, the domestic assault is prosecuted aggressively. It no longer matters whether or not the victim of violence wishes to press charges against his or her abuser; a district attorney can file charges and prosecute anyone suspected of domestic assault.

While innocent victims should certainly be protected from violence and abuse, cases of domestic violence are often muddied by high emotion and conflicting stories. Police officers responding to a domestic call are often left to use their best judgment in determining who is an assailant and who is a victim, whether both parties are equally guilty of instigating an altercation, or whether one person was acting in self defense. This may mean that an arrest is made on the basis of who was able to tell his or her side of the story first or who had the most or fewest visible injuries.

If you have been accused of assaulting a family member, roommate, boyfriend or girlfriend, or ex-partner, contact an attorney experienced at handling complicated domestic violence cases. When an argument gets out of hand and emotions run high, people may say or do things that they later regret—whether that means letting a disagreement get physical or making untrue accusations in a spirit of revenge. Regardless of your circumstances, attorney Ryan Coventon can handle your case with discretion and treat you with dignity as you strive to resolve your situation and restore your family.

Domestic Violence Laws in Oklahoma

Oklahoma state law defines domestic abuse as “any act of physical harm, or the threat of imminent physical harm which is committed by an adult, emancipated minor, or minor age thirteen (13) years or older against another adult, emancipated minor or minor child who are family or household members or who are or were in a dating relationship.” Both physical harm and the threat of physical harm are considered domestic violence when committed by a person over the age of 13 against a family member, household member, or intimate partner. The perpetrator or victim of domestic violence may be a parent; child; spouse; ex-spouse; parents with a child in common, even if the two were never married; current or former dating partners or intimate partners; roommates; and other family members or household members.

Domestic crimes may include:

  • Spousal abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Dating violence
  • Elder abuse
  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence
  • Violation of a Protective Order (VPO)

As a first offense, domestic violence is a misdemeanor; subsequent offenses are prosecuted as felonies. In reality, however, because domestic abuse is often part of a cycle of violence, felony domestic assault is the more common charge. The OSBI’s 2003 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) showed that of the state’s 23,733 reported cases of domestic abuse, more than 18,000 were felony cases.

In addition to repeat offenses, there are other factors which can elevate the charge and enhance penalties in a domestic violence case. Aggravating factors include:

  • Assault and Battery in the Presence of a Minor Child
  • Assault and Battery Causing Great Bodily Harm
  • Domestic Abuse with a Prior Pattern of Physical Abuse
  • Domestic Abuse against a Pregnant Woman
  • Domestic Violence against a Pregnant Woman Resulting in Miscarriage
  • Domestic Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon

The specific details of your case can quickly escalate your charge, leaving you to face years in prison rather than a year or less. Often, prosecutors will attempt to charge you with a more serious offense, but a skillful defense attorney may be able to demonstrate that inflated charges are unwarranted and can have the charges against you reduced or dismissed.

Domestic Violence Penalties

In general, a first offense of domestic abuse is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a maximum of one year in jail. These penalties far exceed the punishment associated with simple assault, which nets a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Aggravating factors, however, can greatly multiply the associated penalties:

  • Domestic abuse in the presence of a child – minimum of 6 months in jail
  • Subsequent offense of domestic violence – up to 4 years in prison
  • Second offense of domestic assault of a pregnant woman – up to 10 years in prison
  • Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon – up to 10 years in prison
  • Domestic assault and battery with great bodily harm – up to 10 years in prison
  • Domestic abuse of a pregnant woman resulting in miscarriage – up to 20 years in prison
  • Domestic assault and battery with a firearm or deadly weapon – up to life in prison

In all cases, people convicted of domestic abuse must undergo court-supervised domestic violence counseling.

Whether you have been charged with domestic violence as a misdemeanor or a felony, your family and your future are at stake. Contact Ryan Coventon for strong, assertive defense. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, he has continually achieved successful results for Oklahomans accused of assaulting a family member or intimate partner. If you have been accused of Violating a Protective Order, or if you have unfairly had a VPO placed against you, he can help you handle any issues pertaining to the VPO and its terms.

For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, contact Oklahoma domestic violence lawyer Ryan Coventon today.