Oklahoma classifies domestic assault and battery charges as domestic abuse. And the law treats domestic abuse more severely than a simple assault and battery in another situation. This is especially true in the case of domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor.
The effects of domestic assault and battery on minor children who witness it are far-reaching. Children learn that violence is normal, they suffer from anxiety and depression, and they may become violent themselves. Any family locked in a pattern of cyclical abuse needs to get help in order to break the cycle.
Here is what you might want to know about how domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor is handled in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Domestic Assault and Battery in the Presence of a Minor Defined
Oklahoma law defines domestic assault and battery as the threat (assault) of force or violence and the actual use of force or violence (battery) upon a member of the household. This can include a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, former boyfriend or girlfriend, roommate, parents, or a former or current spouse or partner. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 644.
Domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor is a felony in Muskogee.
It happens in varying ways. Sometimes an argument between spouses gets overheated, and a slap or kick or another type of violent contact happens as a child is watching.
But the crime can occur even if the child isn’t watching. It can happen when children can hear the violence in another part of the house. The crime occurs when the child sees or hears the assault and battery, or when the perpetrator believes that the child is within the immediate area and may see or hear the act.
Penalties for Domestic Assault and Battery in the Presence of a Minor
Because domestic violence is cyclical, penalties for this crime increase with subsequent convictions. It can take several convictions before a family gets the help they need to stop the cycle of violence. Sometimes, a family is lucky enough to get help before there are repeated convictions.
The sentence for a first conviction may be six months to a year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
A subsequent conviction for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor is punishable by one to five years in prison, a fine of up to $7,000, or both.
Having an attorney advocate for you before the court can really help you. Courts have tools beyond jail and fines. For example, the court can order anger management classes, individual or couples’ counseling, or substance abuse treatment or classes if substance abuse is present. The defendant must pay for these services out of his or her own pocket.
The court may order one or more review hearings to ensure compliance with its orders. Failure to comply will result in further ordered services, or the revocation of any suspended or deferred sentence or probation.
Suspended and Deferred Sentences Can Help
The court may order deferred or suspended sentences in domestic assault and battery cases under certain conditions. A deferred sentence allows the court to delay proceedings without entering a judgment of guilt. The case is dismissed if the defendant complies with all court orders.
A suspended sentence allows the defendant to serve some or all of his or her sentence on probation as long as the defendant follows all the rules set forth in probation. This may include couples’ counseling, anger management classes, attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and the like.
Hiring an experienced Muskogee attorney in this situation can be critical to preserving your freedom and can help the court understand how to best help your family break the cycle of violence.
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