Attorney Angela Singleton - Oklahoma City Criminal Defense

Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

A domestic violence charge can become a felony in one of several ways. First, if you’ve been convicted of or had a term of probation for a domestic violence offense in the past 10 years, then a new charge can be prosecuted as a felony. A felony conviction may result in jail time, especially if you have prior convictions or some type of criminal record. Even if you had a misdemeanor domestic violence charge that was later dismissed after you completed a term of probation, it can be used against you for 10 years to make any new charges of domestic violence a felony.

If you are accused of committing a domestic assault and battery by choking or strangling a person, or by causing great bodily injury, then the charge would be a felony. Under Oklahoma law, great bodily injury is defined as an injury that results in a fracture, disfigurement, loss or impairment of the function of a body part, organ or mental faculty, or an injury that caused a substantial risk of death. If you are accused of knowingly assaulting a woman who is pregnant and she has a miscarriage as a result of her injury, then you would be charged with felony domestic violence. Finally, there is a specific felony charge for shooting another person with whom you are in a domestic relationship. That charge can carry up to 20 years in prison.

What Mistakes Do People Commonly Make In These Cases?

These situations can be emotionally charged, especially when it involves someone with whom you are in a close relationship. When emotions come into play, people make decisions they later regret. The most detrimental thing you can do is give statements to law enforcement. With emotions and adrenaline running high, you may unintentionally say something inaccurate or something that will be detrimental to you in the long run. It’s best not to give any statement, admit any wrongdoing or apologize for anything.

Is Someone Always Going to Be Arrested When Police Are Called for Domestic Violence?

I have often heard clients say they called the police just to have a third-party help diffuse an argument and then a loved one gets arrested. Officers will try to talk to both people. They’ll separate them and attempt to gather evidence.

Again, you don’t want to make any statements of wrongdoing or apologize to anyone. They may simply ask someone to leave until things calm down.

However, if you are placed under arrest, it is best to not make any statements while in the patrol car on the way to the booking facility, and don’t make any statements to anyone else that you come in contact with. If you spend any time in jail, don’t talk to other inmates about your case.

Even if you believe you know an inmate from the past, they are not necessarily looking out for your best interest. Inmates will often want to snitch on other people in order to try to get good deals. So, it’s never in your interest to discuss your case with anyone else that’s inside the jail.

The other thing that’s extremely important is to never discuss your case over the telephone while you’re in custody. Those calls are recorded and having once been a prosecutor, I can tell you that they listen to those phone calls.

Oftentimes they listen to every single phone call you make in an attempt to catch you admitting some sort of wrongdoing. You never want to talk about your case over the phone.

Are Protection Orders Automatically Put in Place in a Domestic Violence Case?

Protective orders can be requested based on someone being arrested for domestic violence. To request a protective order, you typically have to have a police report.

However, it’s a separate matter from any criminal proceedings. So, to have an order placed against you, you have to be served with that order and then you have the right to be heard on the matter in front of a judge. A judge will have a hearing to determine whether or not a protective order is going to be put in place and who is under that protective order.

It is important to know that often when someone files for a protective order a judge reviews their allegations and may enter a temporary emergency order for the time leading up to the hearing. If this happens you must not have contact with the person who filed against you.

Another thing to keep in mind is often alleged victims apply for a protective order, sometimes called a restraining order, and include everyone in the family, including the children. When it comes time to go to court, you want to make sure that you have an attorney with you. If you don’t show up to court and have someone that’s going to fight for you, then that protective order may automatically go into place, which could not only bar you from talking to the alleged victim, but it could also prohibit physical contact with your children.

If you’re being charged with domestic violence against a family member, former spouse, or someone with whom you’re in a dating relationship, you’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

Don’t take chances with your case and your freedom. Contact me today for a free consultation. I’ll be happy to go over the specifics of your case and discuss how I can help you put together the best possible defense.

For more information on Misdemeanor & Felony Domestic Violence, contacting an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (855) 748-8771 today.