In Oklahoma, the penalty for domestic assault and battery can vary substantially. A first offense domestic assault and battery charge is considered a misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in the county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. However, the offense jumps to a felony with much more serious consequences when the state believes that there is evidence of a prior pattern of abuse—and the state defines “prior pattern” in a way that you might find surprising.
What Constitutes a Prior Pattern of Abuse?
According to 21 O.S. § 644.1 (OSCN 2022), a prior pattern of physical abuse requires both of the following statements to be true:
- There were two or more incidents of domestic assault and battery (including the current incident) occurring on different days.
- Proof of each incident prior to the present incident can be provided by a third-party witness or other admissible direct evidence.
It is important to note:
- There is no specific timeframe in which the incidents must occur to constitute a prior pattern of abuse. This means that an incident from more than a decade ago can lead to enhanced penalties for your current case, regardless of how you’ve changed or grown as a person over that same time period.
- The incidents do not need to involve the same victim. They must only involve someone with whom you have a domestic relationship, such as a spouse, romantic partner, parent, adult child, or person currently living in your same household. You may believe that a drunken disagreement with your older brother isn’t relevant to an allegation that you assaulted your girlfriend, but the state will see it differently.
- The ability to charge the offense as domestic assault and battery with a prior pattern of abuse does not depend on a conviction or prior guilty plea for the prior incident.
Please note that the alleged victim doesn’t have the authority to dismiss the charges—even if you believe they are the result of a simple misunderstanding. The prosecutor will proceed with the case even if the victim declines to cooperate.
What Is the Punishment for This Type of Domestic Violence Charge?
Domestic assault and battery with a prior pattern of abuse is a felony offense. If you are found guilty, you are facing imprisonment for a term of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Additional Direct Domestic Violence Consequences That May Be Posed by the State
Oklahoma is an “employment at will” state, which means your employer can terminate your employment for a domestic violence conviction. In addition, the offense will stay on your criminal record for life—making it more difficult to secure a new position.
If you are convicted of domestic violence, you will lose your right to own or use a firearm for protection, hunting, target shooting, or employment.
If your victim is a person with whom you have a child, your custody and/or visitation rights could be at risk.
What Should You Do to Protect Your Legal Rights?
If you’ve been charged with domestic assault and battery with a prior pattern of abuse, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can investigate the facts and build a defense while helping you to avoid common mistakes that could put your case at risk.
Berlin Defense represents residents of Tulsa and the surrounding areas who've been charged with violent crimes, with an emphasis on crimes involving coercive control in intimate partner relationships. We understand the unique challenges these cases can present and have the experience necessary to create an effective defense strategy.
Have You Been Charged With a Domestic Assault and Battery Crime in the Tulsa, OK Area?
If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic assault & battery in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call 913.384.0850 for your initial strategy session. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.