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Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Blog

Can I Go to Prison For Accepting Bribes in Oklahoma?

The history of bribery is as long as the history of humanity; one has to look no further than the story of Judas taking 30 pieces of silver to hand over Jesus for prominent examples of bribery and corruption that have shaped our human story. But not all exchanges of money or other property for information, favors, or other benefits is considered illicit, and in our modern times we need to look at what our state and federal laws say in determining whether the receipt of a gift in explicit or implicit benefits constitutes a criminal act. In Oklahoma, you can indeed be convicted of a felony crime for bribery - bringing with it up to ten years imprisonment in a state prison - for certain acts of accepting cash or other benefits. Below we discuss two of the primary bribery crimes in Oklahoma: bribery of a public officer, and bribery of a fiduciary.

What is My Right to a Jury Trial in an Oklahoma Criminal Case?

Your right to be tried by a jury of your peers is enshrined in the Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution, and, as such, this right is one that has been honored since the founding of our country. While our federal constitution preserves the "right of trial by jury" by all persons facing criminal charges, states have different ways of applying this right when state prosecutors bring felony or misdemeanor charges against individuals. Here, we take a look at what jury rights the state of Oklahoma offers to defendants facing either felony or misdemeanor criminal charges.

What is an Attempt Crime in Oklahoma and What is the Punishment?

Many times, a person attempting to commit a criminal act is somehow prevented from completing the crime itself. What stops that person could be any number of things. Perhaps the police came before a person could successfully break and enter into another person's house. Maybe an accomplice to the crime backed out during the crime preventing completion of the crime. It could even be that a person who had planned to commit a crime decided at the last second that the crime was a bad idea, and so left the scene before completing the crime. Just because a person did not complete a crime in Oklahoma - for example, they did not physically hurt another person or go through with a burglary or robbery - does not necessarily mean that they will not face criminal charges. Like all states, Oklahoma will bring criminal charges for an attempted crime, which can include jail time, criminal fines, and a criminal record.

Can a Landlord, Family Member, or Roommate Let the Police Search My Home?

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects us all from unreasonable government searches and seizures of our home. While many of our constitutional rights have developed over the years based on later Supreme Court decisions, the right to be free in your home from the government barging in is one that goes directly back to the days of our Founding Fathers who wanted to create a society in which government soldiers and police officers could not trample on the private domain of citizens, as the British had done to the early American settlers. Of course, the police do sometimes come into people's homes to collect evidence to be used against them, but they must have a legally valid justification for doing so. One such justification is obtaining a warrant signed off by a judge, which requires a showing of probable cause that the home contains evidence of a crime. But a far easier way for the police to come into your home is for them to get consent by a person inside the home to let them come in. It should go without saying that a person who knows he or she has evidence of a crime inside the home would often be acting against their own interests by consenting to such a search. But the police might ask anyone they meet at the door of a house or apartment - a roommate, a guest, a family member, or landlord - to get consent to come in and search around. This is where things get trickier.

What Are the Defenses to DUI in Oklahoma?

Make no mistake, a DUI is a criminal offense in Oklahoma, and the law in OK for what qualifies as a DUI is relatively strict. Furthermore, Oklahoma prosecutors frequently bring DUI charges against first-time offenders. Jail time is a possibility for an OK DUI conviction, and fines and damage to your personal reputation (not to mention the effect a DUI conviction will have on your insurance rates) are a far more frequent result of a conviction.   But there are potential defenses you and your criminal defense attorney can assert to the judge presiding over your Oklahoma DUI criminal trial to help protect your rights and your interests.

at his criminal defense team can do for you.

When Can the Police Search My Car?

One of the most common questions that criminal defense lawyers hear - especially when there has been a recent encounter with police - is "when can the police search my car?"   Roadside stops by the police are probably the most frequent one-on-one interactions that most people will ever have with law enforcement, so you might think this is a question which can be easily answered. You would be wrong, and, in fact, when the police can and cannot search your car is indeed one of the more complex issues in criminal law, and one that has evolved over the years.

When is Manslaughter Charged Instead of Murder in Oklahoma?

Both manslaughter and murder in Oklahoma refer to crimes in which a defendant causes another person's death through illegal means. But even though the end result in both murder and manslaughter cases is one person's death and another person's criminal culpability, the difference in potential criminal sentences is enormous.   First-degree murder in Oklahoma carries a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole, life in prison with no possibility of parole, or the death penalty. Second-degree murder carries a minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a possibility of life.   First-degree manslaughter, on the other hand, carries a minimum sentence of four years in prison, while second-degree manslaughter carries a two to four prison sentence.   Clearly, no one wants to spend a day in prison - and a criminal defense attorney will always seek a not guilty verdict or dropped charges when possible - but sometimes negotiating and/or litigating a defendant's way down from a murder charge to a manslaughter guilty plea or conviction is the best possible outcome, as it can mean a difference of decades of prison and avoidance of the death penalty.

Understanding the Difference Between First-Degree and Second-Degree Murder in Oklahoma

No doubt about it: if you are convicted of murder either by a jury or through a guilty plea in Oklahoma, you will spend time in prison. But whether you are convicted of first-degree murder or second-degree murder can literally mean the difference between life and death for you the defendant, and at the very least mean a difference of additional decades spent behind bars.   Specifically, the punishment for first-degree murder in Oklahoma is either 1) life in prison with the possibility of parole; 2) life in prison with no possibility of parole; or 3) the death penalty.   By contrast, the minimum sentence for second-degree murder is only 10 years in prison, although that sentence may rise to life in prison as well.   It should go without saying that, even if there is a high likelihood of conviction for a murder crime, it is far preferable for a defendant to receive a second-degree murder conviction rather a first-degree conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney will always fight on behalf of a defendant facing homicide charges to seek full innocence, but, where this is not possible, will seek a lesser conviction from first-degree murder, which can include second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.

Can My Wife Testify Against Me in an Oklahoma Criminal Case?

It goes without saying that the people that know us best - and know our deepest and perhaps darkest secrets - are often our spouses. While every marriage is different, it is common for one spouse to tell another spouse things he or she wouldn't tell anyone else in the world. With that comes the expectation that those secrets will remain within the marriage, whether they relate to hopes and fears or potential criminal behavior relating to past violent acts, drugs, guns, theft, and any other type of criminal behavior. But this is not always the case.   When a person gets in trouble with the law, however, and police and prosecutors come around asking questions, it is thus often a common question whether a defendant's wife (or husband) can be called to testify against them in criminal court. It is an important question, as a person who is called to testify in a criminal case must testify truthfully or face a criminal perjury charge.   Oklahoma does give both spouses a spousal communications privilege in criminal cases which protects certain communications, but it is important to understand what it does and does not protect.

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