Oklahoma Assault and Battery Laws
In Oklahoma, assault and battery are two separate crimes that can be charged individually or together.
Under Oklahoma law, a person who threatens or attempts to cause physical harm to another person is guilty of assault. (Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 21, §641.) Threatening words are not enough to constitute an assault. The offender also must take some menacing action such as drawing a fist or charging toward the victim.
A battery is the intentional use of force against another person, which causes harm or offense to the victim. Striking a person with a fist and spitting on another both are acts that constitute battery. (Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 21, §642.)
Assault and Battery
A person can be charged with assault for threatening another or with assault and battery when the act of assault culminates in a battery. Threatening to hit a person is an assault. If the offender actually strikes the victim after making the threat, the offender can be charged with assault and battery.
Assault and battery crimes in Oklahoma can be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the injury caused by the defendant, the identity of the victim, and whether the defendant used a dangerous weapon.
For information on aggravated assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, see Oklahoma Aggravated Assault and Battery Laws and Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon in Oklahoma.
Assault or battery committed against a spouse, family member or someone you are dating is considered domestic abuse and subject to higher penalties than general assault and battery. For more information about domestic abuse laws, see Domestic Violence Laws in Oklahoma.
Assault or Battery Against Certain Victims
Assault, battery, or assault and battery against certain victims in Oklahoma are identified as separate crimes from general assault and battery. They subject the offender to more serious penalties, such as higher fines and longer periods in jail or prison. An assault and battery against a special victim may be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the victim. Assault or battery against some victims also requires an intent to injure the victim rather than only intent to use force and a resulting injury. These special victims include:
- law enforcement officers while engaged in the performance of their duties
- sports officials (referees and umpires)
- emergency medical providers while performing medical duties
- judges, court officers, and jurors within six months of performing service to the court
- school employees engaged in performing their duties or students attending class or participating in a school activity , and
- corrections officers while performing their duties when the crime is committed by a person in custody.
Penalties for Assault and Battery in Oklahoma
Unless the crime is committed against a special victim or involves the use of a dangerous weapon, assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to thirty days in jail or a $500 fine, or both.
Assault and battery
A crime of assault and battery that is not committed against a special victim, does not result in serious bodily injury, and does not involve the use of a dangerous weapon is a misdemeanor punishable by up to ninety days in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both. (Okla. Stat. Ann.Tit. 21, §644.)
A person convicted of assault in Oklahoma can be required to pay restitution, which involves reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling or repair or replacement of damaged property.
Sentencing and Probation
A court in Oklahoma can impose a deferred or suspended sentence for an assault or assault and battery conviction.
The court can defer the proceedings in a case without entering a judgment of guilt and later dismiss the case if the defendant complies with certain conditions, which can include probation, community service, or even serving a period of time in jail or prison. A person on supervised probation must meet with a probation officer and comply with conditions of probation such as treatment, maintaining employment, and avoiding any further criminal activity or arrests.
A court also can suspend all or part of a jail or prison sentence and allow the defendant to serve all or part of the sentence on supervised or unsupervised probation, so long as the defendant complies with the conditions of probation.
Pleas and Pre-Trial Options
If you are facing a charge of assault, battery, or assault and battery in Oklahoma, an attorney can investigate the case and determine if you were wrongfully charged or there are other reasons why the case should be dismissed before trial. An attorney also may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf, or prepare a defense and represent you at trial if you believe you have been wrongly accused or if there are no reasonable plea options. Prosecutors may negotiate and agree to a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty plea or to the defendant pleading guilty to a different, less serious crime.
The Value of Good Representation
A conviction for assault, battery, or assault and battery becomes part of your permanent criminal record. If you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. A convicted felon loses the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror (for seven years) and carry or own firearms. In certain circumstances, a felony conviction also can result in loss of a professional license. A conviction for a violent crime – misdemeanor or felony – can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment.
Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.