February 11, 2014
Under Oklahoma law, there are a number of misdemeanors that enhance to felonies if a person is charged a second time. This post is dedicated to educating you about the most common enhanceable misdemeanor offenses.
Possession of Marijuana
By far, the most common drug possession crime is possession of marijuana. In Oklahoma, a person’s first possession of marijuana charge (by the State) is a misdemeanor carrying up to a year in county jail and/or up to $1,000.00 fine. What many do not realize is that a second charge for possession of marijuana within ten (10) years of the first is a felony, which carries up to ten (10) years in prison and/or a $5,000.00 fine! This is true despite whether the person received a deferred sentence on the first charge.
If someone is convicted (by the State) of Domestic Abuse (Assault and Battery), they face up to a year in county jail and/or up to a $5,000.00 fine. If that same person is charged with this crime a second time, after the previous conviction, he/she is looking at up to four (4) years in prison and/or up to a $5,000.00 fine.
Another fact you may not know is anyone who receives a deferred or suspended sentence on misdemeanor or felony Domestic Abuse (Assault and Battery) must complete a fifty-two (52) week domestic abuse treatment program. This program is not only an expensive hassle, but the person is required to attend a one hundred twenty (120) day court review to determine whether he/she is in compliance with this probation requirement.
Anyone convicted of violating a Victim Protective Order (VPO) faces up to a year in county jail and/or up to $1,000.00 fine. However, if that person is charge with a second violation of a VPO after the previous conviction, he/she faces one (1) to three (3) years in prison and/or a $2,000.00 to $10,000.00 fine.
At this point, I cannot help but mention the disparity between the possible punishments for someone’s second possession of marijuana charge and second Domestic Abuse (Assault and Battery) charge (2 to 10 years in prison versus 0 to 4 years in prison). This demonstrates where the Legislature of the Great State of Oklahoma places its priorities. Please let me know if you can make sense of it, because I have given up!
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
This is another common crime in Oklahoma that enhances to a felony. A person who receives a first-time DUI (charged by the State) faces ten (10) days to one (1) year in county jail and up to $1,000.00 fine. If that person is then charged a second time with DUI within ten (10) years of receiving the first charge, he/she faces a felony charge with a range of punishment of one (1) to five (5) years in prison and up to a $2,500.00 fine. This is the case despite whether the person received a deferred sentence on the first DUI.
I hope this gives some insight into some of the most common enhanceable misdemeanors in Oklahoma. If you have further questions regarding this topic, please post your inquiry and I will do my best to answer it. If you have a suggestion for next week’s topic, let me know!