Domestic violence charges can turn your life upside down—especially when the charges carry an enhanced penalty for great bodily injury. Domestic assault and battery is normally considered a misdemeanor for the first offense in Oklahoma, but when the victim suffers an injury that can be considered a great bodily injury, the charge gets prosecuted as a felony.
You Might Be Surprised by What Is Considered a Great Bodily Injury
Domestic assault and battery that results in great bodily injury is discussed in 21 OK Stat § 21-644F. Great bodily injury is defined as “bone fracture, protracted and obvious disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a body part, organ or mental faculty, or substantial risk of death.”
It’s important to note that any broken bone is considered a great bodily injury. While we’d all agree that a broken leg is fairly serious, most of us won’t consider a broken finger or a broken rib to be on the same level. Yet, these injuries are equivalent under Oklahoma law—even though none of them go as far as to have a “substantial risk of death.”
There Are Stiff Penalties for Domestic Assault and Battery Causing Great Bodily Injury
A conviction for domestic assault and battery causing great bodily injury puts your freedom—and your future—at stake. Potential penalties include:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- Loss of voting rights
- The potential loss of a professional license
- Being disqualified for running for public office within 15 years of completing your sentence
- Loss of child custody
- Loss of gun rights
- The general stigma of a criminal record
Domestic Violence Doesn’t Always Look Like What You’re Picturing
If you’re like most people, you imagine a man abusing his wife or girlfriend when you hear the words “domestic violence.” While that description certainly does apply to some cases, domestic violence charges in Oklahoma can involve any family member you have a domestic relationship with. This includes parents, siblings, and in-laws, as well as present or former roommates.
It does not matter if both parties were of equal size and strength. It does not matter if things just got out of control because you were both drinking. It doesn’t even matter if the alleged victim has decided they aren’t interested in seeing you legally punished. If there was a great bodily injury under Oklahoma law, you’re looking at a felony charge with up to 10 years in prison, regardless of the exact circumstances.
Don’t Rush to “Clear the Air”
If you feel as though the criminal charges you are facing are the result of a simple misunderstanding, it can be tempting to try to take action to tell your side of the story. This is a mistake. Here are three key pieces of advice to keep in mind:
- Don’t provide information to the police without a lawyer present, even if the officer seems to be on your side.
- Don’t post about the incident on social media.
- Don’t violate a protective order to attempt to speak to the alleged victim.
We encourage you to request our free guide, Domestic Violence Charges in Oklahoma: What You Need to Know to learn more about what to expect after you’ve been arrested and how to avoid common mistakes that limit your ability to mount an effective defense.
We’re Here to Help, Not Judge
At Berlin Defense, we understand that good people make mistakes. Our focus is on helping our clients navigate complicated legal situations without judgment. We will work to ensure you have an opportunity to tell your side of the story and that unfair charges don’t negatively impact your future.
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 and 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 918.384.0850 for your initial strategy session. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.