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Is Domestic Violence a Felony in Oklahoma?

Kaylind Landes
7 minute read

Domestic violence in Oklahoma includes harming someone you live with or are in a relationship with, such as a spouse, intimate partner, roommate, or family member. It is limited to physical abuse, like punching, pushing, or pulling hair, but is often handled by the same judge and prosecutor for similar non-physical charges. These charges include: stalking, violation of protective order, and interfering with a 911 call.

Some of these situations carry harsher punishments than others, which means the answer to “Is domestic violence a felony in Oklahoma?” isn't always straightforward. We’ll explain the nuances in this article.

Is Domestic Violence a Felony in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, domestic violence is only a felony in certain situations. The state’s domestic violence laws make the following offenses felonies:

  • Repeated domestic violence
  • Domestic assault with a dangerous or deadly weapon
  • Domestic abuse causing great bodily injury
  • Domestic abuse by strangulation
  • Domestic assault and battery against a pregnant woman

Domestic assault and battery is the most common domestic abuse charge. Assault and battery simply means a “willful attempt” to physically hurt someone or “willful use” of force or violence. The first conviction is a misdemeanor, while any obtained within 10 years from the date you discharged your first case will be a felony.

If prosecutors can prove a pattern of abuse, they can upgrade the charges to a felony. According to Oklahoma law, “‘prior pattern of physical abuse’ means two or more separate incidents, including the current incident, occurring on different days” and that both qualify as assault and battery. Prosecutors may prove the pattern through third-party witness testimony “independent of the testimony of the victim,” which means the victim does not have to be cooperative for Prosecutors to move forward with a case. Prosecutors often use this strategy if the offender has a history of domestic violence arrests, but no convictions.

Penalties for Felony Domestic Violence in Oklahoma

Domestic violence is a predicate offense in Oklahoma. While a first conviction for domestic assault and battery is a misdemeanor that carries up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine, felony domestic violence convictions carry harsher penalties:

  • Additional domestic assault and battery convictions: Up to 4 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
  • Domestic abuse with a prior pattern of physical abuse: Up to 10 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
  • Domestic assault with a dangerous weapon: Up to 10 years in prison.
  • Domestic assault with a deadly weapon: Up to life in prison.
  • First domestic abuse by strangulation conviction: At least 1 year and up to 3 years in prison, plus up to a $3,000 fine.
  • Additional strangulation convictions: At least 3 years and up to 10 years in prison, plus up to a $20,000 fine.
  • First domestic abuse against a pregnant woman conviction: Up to 5 years in prison.
  • Additional convictions of abuse against a pregnant woman: Up to 10 years in prison.
  • Domestic abuse resulting in miscarriage or injury to the baby: Up to 20 years in prison.

You can see that Oklahoma takes domestic violence very seriously. If you’re facing a felony domestic violence charge, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.

Will You Go to Jail for Domestic Violence in Oklahoma?

If you’re wondering “Is domestic abuse a felony in Oklahoma?” you might also be asking yourself what exactly goes into the sentencing process. While any felony charge can result in jail time, it isn’t set in stone. However, if any of these situations apply to you, it’s more likely you’ll go to jail if you’re convicted:

You Have a Prior Pattern of Physical Abuse

As mentioned, if you have a prior pattern of physical abuse, this can work against you in a domestic violence case. Keep in mind that this includes not only convictions, but also arrests, even if you were never charged or the charges were dismissed. This is important because police officers will sometimes make arrests simply to defuse a situation, and it’s often the person who is least injured or least vocal that ends up in jail. Your attorney can help you make your case to a judge.

There Were Children Present

Unfortunately, domestic abuse situations often involve children. Committing domestic abuse in front of a child doesn’t necessarily elevate the charge to a felony, but it can result in greater penalties, even for a misdemeanor. For a first offense, you can end up in county jail for up to 1 year. For a second offense, it’s up to 7 years. It’s safe to say that judges don’t look kindly on offenders when children are present, but your attorney can still help you build a defense.

You Caused Severe Harm

If you caused “great bodily injury,” which usually includes things like concussions, broken bones, or severe cuts, or caused a mother to miscarry, you may end up in jail. Great bodily injury is usually the result of a “dangerous” or “deadly” weapon, which means the charge can be elevated to a felony. Even your fist or foot can be a dangerous weapon if it causes enough harm.

How Can a Lawyer Help With a Felony Domestic Violence Charge?

Domestic violence is a serious charge. But every accused person has Constitutional rights, no matter what the crime. If you’ve been arrested for domestic violence, you need to take steps to protect those rights and defend yourself. An attorney can help you by:

  • Guiding you through giving a statement. If you’re accused of domestic violence, don’t say anything to the police – even defending yourself – until you have a lawyer to advise you.
  • Getting the charges dismissed. Your lawyer will investigate and question all of the evidence. In the best case scenario, they can cast enough doubt on the state’s case to get it dismissed.
  • Negotiating a plea deal. If the charges aren’t dismissed, they can still be plead down to a deferred or suspended sentence in some cases.
  • Uncovering other mitigating factors. Your lawyer’s investigation could reveal other factors that will affect the judge’s sentence, like self-defense or a misunderstanding.

The Bottom Line

No one wants to go to prison over an argument. And no one wants a felony arrest or conviction on their record, regardless of whether they go to jail or not. If you’re wondering “Is domestic violence a felony?” because you’ve been charged with it, you need to hire an attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Khalaf Law Firm for your free case evaluation today.