A simple disagreement can lead to misdemeanor or felony criminal charges if an argument devolves into threats or violence. Often, a person may be charged with assault or domestic assault and battery even if he or she believed that physical force was an act of self defense. While Oklahoma law does give people the right to defend themselves against the threat of physical harm, the use of force must be considered reasonable in order to be justified. Physical violence outside of these parameters may be criminally charged.
Furthermore, an assault arrest is often made based on an officer's best judgment in the aftermath of a fight where emotions continue to run high. In the face of conflicting testimony, police may arrest the wrong person - the one with the fewest visible injuries or the one who has the misfortune to tell his or her side of the story second.
Regardless of whether you acted lawfully in using force against another person or whether you let your anger get the better of you, a skillful defense attorney can handle your assault case for the best possible outcome.
Most people do not realize it, but the Oklahoma assault statute does not require physical contact between the perpetrator and his or her victim. Rather, assault is defined in 21 O.S. f 641 as the attempt or threat to commit bodily injury through force or violence. Battery, on the other hand, is the actual use of force or violence (21 O.S. 642).
On its own, assault is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. However, typically, assault and battery are charged in conjunction. At its lowest level, misdemeanor assault and battery is punishable by a maximum jail term of 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000.
Simple assault and assault and battery are the least serious assault crimes in Oklahoma. Certain other offenses in which one person inflicts physical harm on another receive harsher penalties, including felony charges for assaults that result in serious bodily injury or which demonstrate an intent to kill.
Oklahoma assault crimes include not only misdemeanor assault and battery, but also the following offenses:
Assault charges may result from any attempt to harm another person, whether through physical force; the use of a dangerous weapon; the use of acid, poison, or other toxic or caustic substance; or spitting, urinating, defecating, or ejaculating upon another person.
Read more about felony assault crimes here.
In general, assault and battery is punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail, but when the assault is committed against a family member, household member, or certain individuals acting in the course of professional duty, the penalties are enhanced.
Domestic abuse is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 on the first offense. If the abuse is committed in the presence of a child, the offense carries a minimum sentence of six months in jail. Although a first offense of domestic violence is generally a misdemeanor, subsequent offenses are felonies. Learn more on our domestic violence page.
Oklahoma law also prohibits assaulting, harming, or committing battery against law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and others:
The penalties for assaulting one of the specified professionals range from a maximum of one year in jail for misdemeanor assault to a minimum of five years in prison for the aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer.
In some cases, a person may be wrongfully accused of assault when his or her use of force was legal and justified. In others, a defendant may be facing inflated charges for what should be a simple misdemeanor assault. Regardless of your circumstance, the attorneys with the Law Firm of Oklahoma provide skillful and effective defense representation in misdemeanor and felony assault cases. Submit the confidential online case review form or call (405) 608-4990 for more information.