Use the Oklahoma OUJIs
Video Transcribed: How do I know what the state is required to prove in my criminal case? I’m Tulsa criminal defense Attorney James Wirth and we’re talking about criminal charges in Tulsa, the burden being on the state, and what exactly do they have to prove?
And that can be a complicated question, attorneys do a lot of research in order to find out exactly what the law is, what the defenses are, whose burdens on what? But there is a simple resource that anybody can use to find out the general information. And there could be exceptions to some of that, and certainly, if you’re advocating on behalf of a defendant, you want to look to make all the arguments that you can.
But that simple resource is the Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions, what we call the OUJI, and that is available online to anybody for free going to OSCN.net and then you go to legal resources and then a jury instructions and then criminal and almost every crime in the state of Oklahoma, there are a few exceptions, but almost every crime in the state of Oklahoma where you’re entitled to a jury trial, which is most, then it has a jury instruction on those.
So those are the instructions that the jury would read to make a determination on whether somebody is guilty or not so they try to make it as simple as possible for a jury to understand, and it’ll have different elements, one through five, and they’ve got to check off each one of those. And it’s the state’s burden at a jury trial to prove each one of those elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
So if you’re charged with a crime, that may be the first thing you want to do, go look at OUJIs, find out what the elements are, find out where your defenses fit into those.
There also could be jury instructions regarding some defenses, some affirmative defenses, those are not as comprehensive, so if you’ve got an affirmative defense that may be jury instruction on it, there may not, that’s where an attorney comes in, doing more of the legal research, finding out what the defenses are and whether the state is required to prove that that defense doesn’t exist or whether the burden is on the defendant to prove that it does exist for it to be a defense.
But simple question. How do you find out what the state is required to prove? The simple answer, use the Oklahoma OUJIs. If you’ve got more complicated questions or specifics, you want to talk to an attorney confidentially about that. To get that scheduled with somebody in my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.