Domestic violence—also known as domestic abuse, or domestic assault and battery—is a complex and nuanced issue. When people argue with those closest to them, emotions can run high, and it's not uncommon for those involved to say and do things that are out of character. Situations can escalate and, in some cases, may even turn physical. Sadly, this type of error, made in the heat of the moment, can have devastating legal ramifications.
In Oklahoma, a domestic assault and battery arrest, charge, or conviction can turn a person's entire life upside down, threatening their freedom, finances, job, reputation, and more. If you're facing a domestic assault and battery charge, Berlin Law Firm can help you safeguard your rights and future. Keep reading to learn more about domestic assault and battery in Oklahoma, the types of domestic violence cases we handle, and how our firm can help you put this difficult situation behind you.
Understanding Domestic Violence in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law defines domestic violence as “any act of physical harm or threat of imminent physical harm” that's perpetrated by an adult, emancipated minor, or minor child age 13 or older, against any of the following family or household members, or dating partners:
- Current or former spouse
- Present spouse of a former spouse
- Former spouse of a present spouse
- Foster parents
- Someone related by blood or marriage
- Someone the defendant was dating or previously dated
- Someone with whom the defendant had a child
- Someone who used to live in the same house as the defendant
- Someone currently living in the same house as the defendant
Depending on the circumstances of the domestic violence incident, defendants may be charged with:
- Domestic assault and battery
- Domestic abuse committed in the presence of a child
- Domestic abuse committed against a pregnant woman
- Domestic abuse resulting in great bodily injury
- Domestic abuse by strangulation
In addition to charges brought by the State of Oklahoma, domestic abuse defendants may also be bound by protective orders requested by— and granted to—their accusers. In some parts of the state, these orders are known as Victim Protective Orders or VPOs.
Domestic Assault & Battery Arrests and Convictions Can Have a Devastating Impact on Your Life
There's no denying that being arrested for—or charged with—domestic violence-related offenses carries a negative social stigma, but that's hardly the only way domestic abuse charges can threaten to ruin a defendant's life. Here are just a few of the consequences commonly associated with domestic assault and battery in Oklahoma:
- Loss of freedom. After a domestic violence arrest, arrestees are subject to a 72-hour “cool down” hold in jail. If charged, they may have the opportunity to post bond, but bonding out signals to the court that the defendant can afford a private attorney. If the defendant can't come up with one within an approximately 90-day period, they may find themselves back in jail for the duration of the trial. If convicted, defendants may face between one and 20 years in prison.
- Loss of money. Domestic abuse charges also carry hefty fines. Depending on the specific charges and circumstances, defendants convicted of domestic violence may be expected to pay fines ranging from $3,000 to $20,000.
- Loss of rights and privileges. A domestic abuse conviction can affect a person's ability to own a firearm. A federal law known as the Lautenberg Amendment prohibits people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from transporting, shipping, or receiving firearms (felons are already barred from gun ownership). This can have serious implications for hunters or people who work in professions where carrying a firearm is required.