Under Oklahoma law, assault and battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. However, a suspended sentence may be offered as an alternative to jail time.
About Suspended Sentences
In the simplest terms, a suspended sentence means that the judge is “suspending” the time you are supposed to serve in jail or prison and replacing that time with probation. Depending on the specifics of your case, the judge can suspend all or part of your sentence.
Judges are given a great deal of discretion when it comes to offering a suspended sentence for a defendant facing assault and battery charges. They will consider several different factors, including your prior criminal history and whether you pose a flight or safety risk to the community. The seriousness of the charge will also come into play, so a suspended sentence can be more difficult to obtain when you’re facing an assault and battery charge with enhanced penalties, such as aggravated assault and battery or assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
Suspended sentences in Oklahoma are covered in 22 O.S. § 991a.
Probation typically comes with a number of stipulations. For example:
- You must regularly check in with a parole officer.
- You are subject to random searches.
- You have to pay monthly parole fees.
- You must get permission if you want to leave the state for any reason.
- You can’t use drugs or alcohol.
- You must complete an anger management class.
- You can’t associate with people who have been convicted of crimes, are currently serving probation, or have criminal records.
- You must obey all laws and not be found guilty of a new crime.
Penalties for Probation Violations
If you violate the terms of your probation, the judge has two options:
- They can impose additional restrictions or sanctions such as fines.
- They can withdraw the suspended sentence and require you to serve time in jail.
When the state believes you’ve violated the terms of your probation, they will file an application to revoke the suspended sentence. You’ll then be arraigned by the court and be asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
Unfortunately, the burden of proof at this type of hearing is quite low. The state must only prove the case by a “preponderance of evidence”—a civil standard that means it’s more likely than not that you violated the terms of your probation.
If your suspended sentence is revoked, you will go to jail for the entire term of the original sentence. This is true even if you already severed the majority of your probation with no issue, as you will not get “credit” for this period.
A Suspended Sentence Still Results in a Criminal Record
A suspended sentence will appear on your criminal record because you must initially plead guilty to the charges you are facing. If you are worried about the consequences of a criminal record, you may want to ask your attorney if a deferred sentence is a better option. A deferred sentence will also keep you out of jail, but the charges will be dismissed entirely if you successfully complete the terms of your probation. If you successfully complete a deferred sentence, you will not have to deal with the stigma associated with a criminal record.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you’re facing assault and battery charges in Oklahoma, you should meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you prepare a defense that will reduce the negative consequences of the charge. If appropriate, this includes advocating for a suspended sentence.
At Berlin Defense, we provide skilled representation for a wide range of violent offenses, with an emphasis on crimes involving elements of coercive control in intimate partner relationships. When you’re future is at stake, we’ll fight to ensure you’re allowed to share your side of the story.
Have You Been Charged With a Violent Crime in the Tulsa, OK Area?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a violent crime 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 free consultation. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.