A felony conviction can destroy families, lives, and careers. For this reason, we treat felony charges as if each one carries the possibility of a life sentence.
In the State of Oklahoma a felony is a “crime that is punishable by imprisonment in the Penitentiary” (O.S. Title 21 § 5). A felony conviction can interrupt or even destroy families, lives, and careers. For these reasons, we treat felony charges as if each one carries the possibility of a life sentence.
Felony convictions are far reaching in one’s life. A “felon” in Oklahoma cannot vote during sentence, sit on a jury, run for public office within 15 years of completing the sentence, bear arms, be state employed, and in many instances, cannot have a driver’s license. A “felon” may never become a bank officer, corporate director, administrator of an estate or executor, dealer of liquor, physical therapist, funeral director, surveyor, chiropractor, Realtor, official shorthand reporter, or bondsman.
A “felon” may as well forget about pursuing any of the professions of law, accounting, architecture, engineering, medicine, dentistry, electrologist, pharmacy, psychology, real estate appraisal, veterinary science, occupational therapy, marriage or domestic counseling, osteopathy, nursing, and cosmetology, as well as employment in such professional fields as a pawnbroker, polygraph examiner, security guard, or in the security alarm industry.
In the State of Oklahoma the felony process begins with the arraignment, and it is at arraignment that you are presented with the “information,” which is a document filed by the state describing the crime for which the Defendant is charged. It is at this time that the court will read the “information,” enter a plea of not guilty, address your right to counsel, and set bond.
The next time you are scheduled for a court appearance would be at the “preliminary hearing conference.” This court date is a setting that allows your attorney and the District Attorney’s Office (DA) the chance to discuss the case and exchange the “discovery.” This is also an opportunity for you to meet with your attorney and review the State’s evidence and the case against you.
The “preliminary hearing” would be the next scheduled appearance in the process. This hearing is a constitutional right in Oklahoma, and a process in which the State must show “probable cause” in a sufficient manner for the defendant to stand trial for the crime for which they are charged.
Remember, a preliminary hearing is not a trial, but a hearing. This hearing is an important opportunity for the defense to review the State’s case, and an attempt for the State to convince the court that a basis exists for the matter to continue to trial. If the State does not meet its burden, the case is dismissed; however, if the State is successful, a “District Court Arraignment” will be set.
At “District Court Arraignment” the Defendant will notice a different judge and possibly a different courtroom. This new Judge is the “Trial Judge” and you will either enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the plea entered is not guilty, the matter will then be set upon a “sounding docket” and set for trial.
At Wagner & Lynch Law, not only do we explain your rights and the process, but we stand by your side while helping you to understand and make decisions that best suit your individual situation. We believe it is our duty to be your advocate, your confidant, your defender. That said, the client is always the person directly affected and shall make the final decision in their respected defense. We will defend you, we will be your advocate.