The Proof of Guilt Must Be Evident
Video Transcribed: Oklahoma’s constitution provides for the right to bail in Oklahoma except under limited circumstances. I am Oklahoma Attorney, James Wirth. Now, when somebody is arrested, they’re being held in custody for pretrial detention, they have not been convicted of anything yet. They maintain their presumption of innocence, and therefore they should be allowed bail in a sufficient amount to assure their appearance at court, but not so much as going to keep them confined and unable to participate in their own defense.
And this is laid out in Oklahoma’s constitution, that’s constitutional law here in Oklahoma. And it’s in Article Two, Section Eight of Oklahoma’s constitution, talks about the right to bail, and it says, “All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except that bail may be denied for … ”
It lists various certain crimes it can be denied for, listing: capital offenses where the proof of guilt is evident, or the presumption thereof is great; violent offenses; offenses where the maximum sentence may be life imprisonment or life in prison without parole; felony offenses where the person charged with the offense has been convicted of two or more felony offenses arising out of different transactions; and controlled, dangerous substances offenses where the maximum sentence may be at least 10 years imprisonment.
On all offenses specified in paragraphs two through five above, the proof of guilt must be evident, though, in order to deny bail, or the presumption must be great. And it must be on the grounds that no condition of release would assure the safety of the community.
So if a condition of release would assure the safety of the community, then bail must be provided, even for those offenses that I mentioned. Some things that could include house arrest, could include a GPS ankle monitor, or whatever’s sufficient to protect the public because the goal of pretrial detention and bail is not to punish.
It is not to prevent somebody from being out and helping with their own defense, it is to assure the safety of the public and to ensure their appearance at their court date, and they’re not going to run off and skip out on that.
So the right to bail is provided in the Oklahoma constitution, there are limited exceptions to that. If you’ve got questions, how this may apply to you or a family member, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney specifically and confidentially about that. To do that, to get that scheduled, go online, to makelaweasy.com.