OKLAHOMA ARREST & CRIMINAL CHARGES
In Oklahoma, most criminal charges are filed by “information” whereby the District Attorney “informs” you in writing of the charges. Alternatively, the charges can be filed by grand jury indictment.
A person may be arrested before or after being charged. When arrested, most counties in Oklahoma permit the accused person to appear before a magistrate judge who determines bail or the amount of bond to be posted. In other counties, there is a system of “jail bail” where the amount of the bond is pre-determined by a schedule (which is done routinely in Oklahoma County).
OKLAHOMA BAIL & BAIL BONDS
It is possible that the bail amount might be lowered after a “Brill” bail hearing if the charged person is willing to remain in jail until the first appearance. The first court appearance usually occurs within 24 hours of arrest, unless the arrest falls on a Friday night or holiday. If the judge does not reduce bail, it is possible to request a bail (“Brill”) hearing where evidence is provided to support an argument for a reasonable bail.
Bail may generally be posted by cash, by bail bond, or by property bond. However, the use of property bonds involves significant hurdles unless the land is in the county where the alleged crime was committed and unless the property is at least 2-1/2 times the value of the bail and the property is not encumbered (in other words, no mortgages). Bail bonds usually involve payment of 10% or 15% of the amount of bail set, and this amount paid to the bail bondsman is non-refundable. It is also possible in many counties or in municipal court for a judge to give the accused person a “P.R.” or “O.R.” (personal recognizance or own recognizance) bond. But some counties like Oklahoma County generally do not permit a P.R. bond.
The Wyatt Law Office can assist you in locating and hiring a respectable bail bondsman anywhere in Oklahoma.
In many Oklahoma counties, if the arrested person posts bail, they are likely ineligible for court-appointed counsel. In other words, if you can afford bail, the courts usually find that you can also afford to hire an attorney.
If the crimes alleged are federal charges, a person is usually given a “personal recognizance” bond — meaning that the accused is free on bond without posting any bail or bail bond. Otherwise, the federal magistrate will deny bond because of a flight risk or danger to the community. If the crime charged has a potential sentence of 10 years or more or involves a crime of violence (or use of gun), then bail will likely be denied unless there are unusual circumstances. This is commonly called a rebuttable presumption of flight or danger.
If the federal government seeks detention (meaning no bail), then you are entitled to a hearing within five days of arrest. If the circumstances cannot be properly investigated within five days, then the client can request to “reserve” the bail issue for a later date if the judge will approve that request.
BAIL OR BOND CONDITIONS
If granted bail, there likely will be conditions or limitations. Generally this may involve limitation on travel to a certain location or region, not possessing or using illegal drugs, not possessing or using a gun, not contacting witnesses or victims, drug testing, maintaining contact with a probation or bail officer, and making all court appearances. All appearances must be on time.
COURTROOM DECORUM (How to Act in Court)
When you hire the Wyatt Law Office, we expect our clients to appear in court dressed appropriately and on time. That means that for men, you need to wear a tie and coat if you have them. If not, we need to discuss whether it is necessary to obtain them. For women, you need “business casual.” In any event, be neat and clean, pressed and polished. For all persons appearing in court, wear what would be appropriate for church or a special school event.
In the courtroom, the judge is addressed as “sir” or “your Honor.” When answering questions, respond in a loud enough voice for the judge to hear you and always respond “yes sir” or “no sir” or “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am” or “yes” or “no your Honor.” Show respect for the judge regardless of your personal opinion. The judge is either appointed or elected and deserves your respect in court.
Call the Wyatt Law Office at 405.234.5500 to for questions on Oklahoma Arrest and Bail issues.