Oklahoma Can Decide What Crimes Are Eligible
Video Transcribed: Who is eligible for a deferred prosecution agreement in Oklahoma? I’m a Lawyer in Tulsa, James Wirth, doing a series of videos related to deferred prosecution agreements. This one deals with who is eligible? The law lays this out and makes it pretty broad. I just want to read that.
It is statutory. It’s Title 22, Section 305.1. It says the state of Oklahoma may include any person in a deferred prosecution agreement if it is in the best interest of the accused and not contrary to the public interest, so that’s pretty broad.
Ultimately, what it means is that the state can decide what types of offenses, what types of crimes, and what types of people they want to allow for that, which they believe is in the best interest of the accused and is not contrary to the public interest. It says each district attorney shall adopt and promulgate guidelines, which shall indicate what factors shall be considered in including an accused in the deferred prosecution.
It says whether the state of Oklahoma has sufficient evidence to achieve a conviction, so they’ve got to have a certain level of guilt before they try to coerce somebody into entering into a deferred prosecution agreement. The nature of the offense with priority given to first offenders and non-violent crimes, so it’s typically non-violent crimes, first offenders.
Any special characteristics of the accused, whether the accused will cooperate and benefit from a deferred prosecution program, whether available programs are appropriate to the accused person’s needs, whether the services for the accused are more readily available from the community or from the correction system, whether the accused constitutes a substantial danger to others.
Obviously, if you’re a danger to others, it’s less likely that they’re going to offer you a deferred prosecution agreement. More likely that there’s going to be a formal charge filed with the court to go through that court process.
The impact of a deferred prosecution on the community, the recommendation of the law enforcement agency involved in the case, the opinion of the victim, and any mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
Putting it all together, what it says is that anybody may be eligible if it’s in the best interest or in the interest of the accused and it does not go against the safety or the interest of the public. However, each district attorney’s office makes its own guidelines for who’s going to be included. The answer to the question is who gets to be included?
Well, it’s whoever the DA wants to include. Typically, that is going to be low-level offenses, first offenses, and misdemeanors. Bogus checks are a common one that you would see, but any low-level misdemeanor would be a good candidate, but you really have to get in front of these things.
Most district attorney’s offices have a tendency just to file the information or the charging document and pursue those. But that means the person has to be arrested, has to bond out, has a mugshot, and has appeared in court. It’s a costly and very public process.
Given the option of doing a deferred prosecution agreement, if there is substantial evidence of a crime that they can prove and the evidence was lawfully obtained and cannot be suppressed, then that may be a good option for you.
But like I said, that means you have to get in front of it, which means that you’re going to need an attorney or somebody advocating for you, or you advocating for yourself at the very early stages before criminal charges are filed.
But you’re going to want to talk to an Oklahoma attorney about your circumstances privately and confidentially. If you do want to schedule an appointment with a Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney in my office contact me today.