Assault in Oklahoma: A Crime in and of Itself
In Oklahoma law, the crime of assault is defined as an intentional attempt or threat of force or violence against another person. Assault is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by jail time, a fine or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 641.
Tulsa lawyers frequently find the concept of assault confused and commingled with the crime of battery, but assault can in fact be a separate crime, in and of itself. In Oklahoma, battery is defined as the intentional and unlawful use of force or violence against another. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 642. An assault is threatened violence or harm, battery is the harm itself.
A Tulsa lawyer uses this simple example helps to clarify the difference. In a heated argument, an irate man starts yelling at another in the street. He makes no particular threat of harm. In this instance, no crime has been committed, beyond possibly disturbing the peace. Angry words alone do not constitute assault.
If that same man raises his hand as if to strike the person, he has threatened violence, and an assault has been committed. When he hits another, that is the battery. These two crimes often occur together and as such, are often charged together as assault and battery.
The penalty for simple assault is codified under Oklahoma law as a jail term in the county jail for up to 30 days and/or a fine up to $500. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 644. In contrast, the penalty for a simple assault and battery includes a jail term of up to 90 days and/or a fine of up to $1000.
The crime of assault has other forms in Oklahoma, including: aggravated assault, assault and battery of a police officer or a police animal such as a dog or horse, assault and battery in a domestic violence situation, and assault and battery upon an emergency medical care provider or juror.
Aggravated Assault and Battery
Perhaps the most prevalent assault crime beyond simple assault is aggravated assault and battery. Aggravated assault and battery is defined as an assault in which great bodily injury is inflicted upon a victim or an assault by a perpetrator who is strong or in robust health against a victim who is elderly, or otherwise incapacitated. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 646.
In the example above, if the man hits his victim repeatedly, fracturing a jaw or damaging an internal organ, this would constitute aggravated assault under the law. Likewise, if the man hit an elderly man, the crime would most likely constitute aggravated assault and battery.
Domestic Assault in Oklahoma
Assault and battery often occurs a domestic abuse. Oklahoma law defines domestic abuse as assault and battery upon a spouse or partner, former spouse or partner, upon a parent, child or foster child, or upon a person with whom that person has had a child. The crime is punishable by a jail term of up to 1 year and/or a fine up to $5000. A subsequent conviction is punishable by up to 4 years in jail and/or a fine up to $5000. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 644.
Domestic abuse against a pregnant woman with knowledge of the pregnancy is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 1 year in jail for the first conviction. A subsequent conviction is treated as a felony and punishable by a jail term of not less than 10 years.
A person who commits an assault and battery with the intent to cause grave bodily injury by use of strangulation against a domestic relation will be punished by a jail term of from 1-3 years and/or a fine up to $3000 for the first conviction. A subsequent conviction is punishable by a jail term of 3-10 years and/or a fine up to $20,000. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 644.
A shooting of a domestic relation is a felony under Oklahoma law, punishable by life in prison.
Free Consultation With a Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney
Assault in Oklahoma may mean jail time. Many assault and battery charges carry long person sentences. If charged, it is important that you hire an experienced Tulsa criminal defense attorney. You need an experienced local criminal attorney familiar the Tulsa court system and local judiciary. Do not delay. Our initial consultation is free.
Call the Wirth Law Office at (918) 879-1681 (or toll free at (888) Wirth-Law) or submit the question form at the top right of this page. We proudly provide clients with excellent criminal defense representation at an affordable cost.