Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions in Oklahoma
The criminal justice system in the state of Oklahoma classifies crimes as felonies and misdemeanors (OS 21–4).. Felony crimes are the most serious offenses with often severe penalties, while misdemeanors are less serious offenses. Crimes in Oklahoma are punishable by death, imprisonment, fines, removal from office, or disqualification to hold any position of honor or profit in the state (OS 21–3).. Oklahoma’s statutes provide definitions and guidelines for offense classification, penalties, and sentencing. Summarily, Oklahoma crimes are tried on the basis of these categories.
What is a felony in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, felonies are crimes punishable by imprisonment in a state correctional facility or by death (OS 21–5).. Each felony crime in Oklahoma has separate penalties associated with it. The penalties are laid out in the statute that defines each crime. If an offense is designated a felony in Oklahoma, with no associated penalties in the statute that defines it, such an offense is punishable by fines of not more than $1,000, or by imprisonment in the state prison for no more than two years. Such felonies may also be punishable by both imprisonment terms and fines (OS 21–9)..
What are some examples of felonies in Oklahoma?
Some examples of felonies in Oklahoma are:
- Murder: First and second-degree murders are the most serious offenses in Oklahoma. (OS 21–701.7) A person commits murder if:
- They unlawfully and maliciously take the life of another human being
- Another person dies in their attempt to kill someone else
- Maliciously solicit another person to cause the death of someone
- Death results from sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, burglary, discharge of deadly weapons into a building, escape from lawful custody or trafficking illegal drugs.
- They intentionally cause the death of a law enforcement officer
Persons convicted of murder in the first degree or persons who plead guilty or “no contest” to murder charges may be punished by imprisonment for life, imprisonment for life without the option of parole, or by death. Such persons will not be eligible to defer their sentences (OS 21–701.9).. Persons convicted of murder in the second degree or persons who plead guilty or “no contest” to the charge, may be sentenced to imprisonment of no less than 10 years in state prison and no more than life imprisonment. In cases where the Supreme Court or the Oklahoma Court of Appeal hold the death penalty unconstitutional, the convicted person shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
- Assisting a prisoner’s escape: if a person deliberately assists a prisoner’s escape, such a person is guilty of a felony offense if the prisoner was convicted of a felony. Assisting a prisoner’s escape is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for no more than 10 years. If the assisted prisoner was convicted of another crime, the person who assists in the escape will be guilty of a misdemeanor. In this case, assisting a prisoner’s escape is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for no more than one year, or a fine of up to $500, or both imprisonment and fines (OS 21–437).
- Commercial gambling: in Oklahoma, a person is guilty of commercial gambling if they:
- Operate a gambling place or receive earnings, in part or in full, from the place
- Record, receive, or forward bets or betting offers
- Conduct a lottery or possess lottery facilities with the intent to conduct lotteries
- Manage or finance a gambling business alone or with other persons
- Collect proceeds of any gambling device
Commercial gambling is punishable by imprisonment in a state facility for not more than 10 years, or a fine of up to $25,000, or both imprisonment and fine.
Other examples of felonies in Oklahoma are:
- Aiding suicide
- Assault with a dangerous weapon
- Throwing or dropping an object on or at moving vehicles
- Requesting or accepting bribes
- Mutilating the flag
- Possession of child pornography
- Grand larceny
- Sex offenses
The state of Oklahoma imposes additional penalties for repeat felony offenses. These are usually more severe than first-offense punishments. For example, the first offense of forcible sodomy is punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years in a state correction facility. Second convictions of forcible sodomy are punishable by imprisonment for life without parole (OK 21–51.1a)
In Oklahoma, people convicted of certain felony crimes are required to serve no less than 85% of their sentence as a requirement for parole eligibility (OS 21–13.1).. Some of these crimes are:
- Robbery with a dangerous weapon
- First-degree manslaughter
- Child prostitution
- Poisoning with the intent to kill
- Aggravated drug trafficking
- Conjoint robbery
Can I get a Felony Removed from a Court Record in Oklahoma?
Some felonies can be expunged in Oklahoma. Expungement in Oklahoma is the sealing of all public criminal or civil records related to a felony. The records will not be deleted or removed, and will still be available to law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes.
According to the Criminal Procedure statute OS 22–18, to be eligible for expungement, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- The person has been acquitted of wrongdoing
- The person was found innocent through DNA evidence after conviction
- The person was fully pardoned by the governor for their crimes
- The person was arrested but no charges were filed
- The person was under 18 at the time of the offense and has received a full pardon
- Charges against the person were dismissed and no other charges are pending
- The person was convicted of a non-violent felony offense, and charges were dismissed after completion of a deferred sentence.
- Five years have passed since the charge was dismissed
- The person has not been charged or convicted of another felony or misdemeanor in the last five to seven years
To file a petition for expungement, applicants may use the statutory form provided by OS 22–18a. Felonies that are not eligible for expungement include violent crimes such as:
- Child abuse
- Inciting to riot
Is expungement the same as sealing court records in Oklahoma?
When court records are expunged in Oklahoma, they are not removed completely or destroyed but sealed. They become non-public records that are only available to law enforcement agencies and courts. If an expungement is granted, the offense will be deemed to have never occurred. On inquiry, the person whose record was expunged may respond that no such offense took place and no records exist.
How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record in Oklahoma?
Felonies stay on criminal history records for life or until they are expunged. In addition to fines and imprisonment terms, felonies have additional consequences that can negatively impact convicted persons. For example, persons convicted of felony crimes may not vote, serve on juries, buy, own, or bear arms. Felony records may restrict job opportunities and federal aid programs available to convicted persons. They may also not be eligible for admission into colleges. Expungement offers persons who have been convicted of felonies an opportunity to rejoin society with a clean slate. It affords access to housing, federal loans and grants, and jobs that would be otherwise inaccessible.
What is a Misdemeanor in Oklahoma?
In Oregon, all crimes not designated as felonies are misdemeanors (OS 21–6) They are less serious offenses than felonies and are punishable by no more than one year in county jail, fines of up to $500, or both imprisonment and fines (OS 21–10).. If a person commits a misdemeanor, whoever aids such a person is also guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable in the same manner as the principal offender, except otherwise prescribed by statutes. In addition, if an act is prohibited by any state statute, and no penalties are imposed in any statute, such an act is a misdemeanor. (OS 21–21)
What are some examples of Misdemeanors in Oklahoma?
An example of a misdemeanor in Oklahoma is:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances: in Oklahoma, it is unlawful to operate or be in control of a vehicle in public places and on public and private roads if they are:
- Under the influence of alcohol
- Under the influence of any other intoxicating substance
- Under the combined influence of alcohol and any other intoxicating substance
A first-offense DUI is classified as misdemeanors. Offenders are mandated to attend alcohol and drug substance abuse evaluation programs. The misdemeanor is punishable by a minimum of 10 days in county jail and no more than one year. Offenders may also pay fines of no more than $1000.
If a person is convicted of another DUI within the 10 years following the completion of the conditions for the sentence their first conviction, the second offense will be designated a felony (OS 47–11.902).. The offense may be punished by:
- Assessment and evaluation programs at the offender’s expense
- Placement in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOP) for no less than one year and no more than five years
- A fine of not more than $2500
Second felony DUIs are punishable by:
- Following all recommended treatments made in the evaluation program
- 240 hours of community service
- Use of an ignition interlock device
- Placement in the custody of the DOP for no less than one year and no more than 10 years
- Fines of up to $5000
Third and subsequent felony DUIs are punishable by:
- Following all recommended treatments at the offender’s expense
- No less than one year of supervision and periodic testing at the offender’s expense
- 480 hours of community service
- Use of an ignition interlock device for a minimum of 30 days
- Placement in the custody of the DOP for no less than one year and no more than 20 years
- Fines of up to $5000
Additional conditions and penalties for DUIs are laid out in OS 47–11.902.
Other examples of misdemeanors in Oklahoma include:
- Reckless driving
- Possession of a gambling device
- Falsely assuming to be an officer
- Using measuring devices that do not meet state standards
- Disturbing the peace
- Urination in a public place
- Selling lottery tickets
- False rumors or slander
- Unlawful assembly
- Betting on an election
- Harboring an endangered runaway child
Can I Get a Misdemeanor Removed from a Record in Oklahoma?
Misdemeanors can be removed from criminal records in Oklahoma through the expungement process. Expunged records are sealed and made non-public. This means that they will only be accessible to law enforcement agencies and courts for law enforcement purposes. The person whose record was expunged will be deemed not to have committed the crime, and no records of the crime will appear in background checks.
To be eligible for expungement, five years must have passed since the completion of the sentence for the conviction. Other requirements for eligibility are:
- The applicant was arrested but not charged with a misdemeanor
- The applicant was charged but the charges were dismissed
- The applicant was pardoned or acquitted
- The applicant does not have any other pending charges against them
- The applicant has not been convicted of other crimes in the seven years before the application
Persons convicted of misdemeanors and penalized with fines of less than $501 may apply for expungement immediately after the fine is paid.
Can a DUI Be Expunged in Oklahoma?
Persons who have been convicted of first-offense DUIs may receive deferred sentences. This means that sentencing will be postponed until after successful completion of probation, treatment, or rehabilitation programs in a state-approved or state-supported facility (OS 62–2–410).. Upon successful completion, the defendant’s guilty plea will be changed to not guilty, and the case will be dismissed. However, such persons must file a motion to have the records expunged.
DUI offenses punishable as felonies may not be eligible for expungement.
What constitutes an Infraction in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, infractions are the least serious types of offenses. They are non-criminal offenses punishable by fines.
What are some examples of Infractions in Oklahoma?
Examples of infractions in Oklahoma include:
- Throwing dirt on the highway, roads, or public property
- Violation of child passenger restraint requirement (OS 47–11–1112)
- Inattentive driving (OS 47–11–901b)
- Following fire engines or other emergency vehicles (OS 47–11–1108)
- Allowing a passenger to ride outside the passenger compartment (OS 47–11–1114)
- Clinging to vehicles on the roadway (OS 47–11–1204)
- Front seat passengers without seatbelts (OS 47–12–417)
- Opening and closing vehicle doors on the side of moving traffic (OS 47–11–1105)
- Diving or jumping from a bridge for recreation (OS 47–11–506)
- Walking into the path of a vehicle (OS 47–11–502)
Can Infractions be Expunged from an Oklahoma Criminal Court Record?
Infractions such as traffic violations can have consequences such as increased insurance premiums and license points. Records of infractions can be removed from a person’s criminal history if they file a motion to have the records expunged.