Category Archives: Tulsa Criminal Attorneys

Violating a Protective Order

Violating a protective orderIn Tulsa County Violating a protective order is a criminal offense. When discussing violating  a protective order It’s first useful to understand what a protective order is and why people use them.  First, a protective order intends to protect someone from another person’s harmful actions.  This is most often the case in spousal abuse, stalking, or harassment incidents.  For example, in the 1984 Oklahoma case of Marquette v. Marquette, the ex-wife was granted a protective order against her ex-husband.  He harassed her, verbally threatened her, and threw clothing, children’s toys, and other items at her in front of their children.  This situation is typical for protection orders.

Levels of Penalties for Violating a Protective Order

Violating a protective order is punishable in Oklahoma.  Violations include anything that is expressly prohibited in the order.  This is often communication through phone, text, or in person; any personal contact; or being present within a certain vicinity of the victim.  However, the degree of punishment is dependent on certain matters.  The following will discuss and explain these in detail.

First Offense w/out Physical Harm:  Upon the first violation of a protective order and if no injuries to any party occur, the offender may receive misdemeanor charges.  This carries a maximum of one year in county jail.  The prison sentence may also couple with a fine up to $1,000.

First Offense w/Physical Harm:  If physical injuries or harm occurs to anyone present during a first time violation of the protective order, then it is a misdemeanor.  The fines can reach up to $5,000 and jail time is 20 days to one year.

Second Offense:  If the protective order has been violated before and this is a repeat offense, the penalty is a felony.  This is subject to 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine between $300 and $10,000.

Further, any of these penalties can include court ordered treatment programs such as: anger management, domestic abuse programs, substance abuse counseling, etc.  The programs last 52 weeks and subject to review 120 days after completion.  If the issues are severe enough, penalties may also require a GPS monitoring device.  The offender will be liable for all fees regarding the GPS device.

Let our Tulsa County Lawyers Help You:

If you are struggling with the legal ramifications of a protective order call us.  Our attorneys have experience navigating these channels and can help. Our first consultation is free. For more information read our Tulsa County Lawyers blog or call us at 918.379.4864

Assault and Battery in Oklahoma

As far as violent crimes are concerned assault and battery is one of the most common crimes in the United States. In Oklahoma Assault and Battery can be separate or dualAssault and Battery - Tulsa County Lawyers Group crimes.  This is often a confusing topic to people who are facing charges on one or the other.  For example, assault cannot include a battery, but a battery can include an assault.  However, there are distinct differences between the two.  Read on to get a better understanding of what you may be facing.

Assault vs. Battery:


Okla. Stat. tit. 21 §641 defines assault. First, the assault must be a willful act that you know and intend to do.  Second, the act must also be unlawful.  Finally, an assault must be a threat or attempt to do bodily harm to another.  However, no actual physical contact occurs.   Examples of assault are:  moving toward another with a closed fist, threatening harm on another, intentionally frightening someone to make them believe they are in imminent harm.


Conversely, battery is defined differently.  Okla. Stat. tit. 21 §642 defines battery.  It includes the willful and intentional act of physically harming another person.  The person harming to victim must also have unlawful motives and use violence or force.  Physical contact must occur and some sort of injury must result.   Examples of battery include:  punching someone, shoving someone down in a heated argument, hitting someone with an object (especially if you intend to harm with the object), and many more.

So, the difference between assault and battery is well defined.  Assault is putting a person in fear of a battery, while a battery is actually making physical contact.

Penalties for Assault and Battery:

An assault is generally a misdemeanor crime.  This regularly includes a minimal jail sentence of 30 days or a fine a $500.  In some situations both penalties may occur.  Battery however, is more complicated.  A simple battery may only increase the misdemeanor assault to 90 days in jail and a $1000.  However, depending on the seriousness of the battery, you may be facing felony charges.  This is especially true if the battery is against a romantic partner, peace officers, medical personnel, or on-duty school staff.

Assault and Battery Lawyers in Tulsa County:

If you’ve been charged with assault or assault and battery in Tulsa County we want to help you. Its not enough for the State to simply charge you with the crime they have to prove each and every element of the crime. That means they must have a victim of the crime and this witness must testify that you committed the crime. This means they have to prove an intentional act on you part that caused harm or immediate risk of harm to the other person. Serious criminal charges require serious criminal law representation. Call 918-379-8684 our Tulsa County criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation.

Tulsa County Receiving Stolen Property Attorney

Oklahoma has one of the strictest laws in the nation pertaining to the possession of stolenTulsa County Receiving Stolen Property property. In Oklahoma, the burden of proof basically falls on the buyer of merchandise. The buyer must show that they exercise reasonable due diligence in making sure that the goods they buy weren’t stolen. Basically the law says the buyer should know or should have known the goods how the background of the goods. The penalty for felony possessing stolen property is a $500 fine and up-to 5 years in prison.

It’s the responsibility of the buyer to ask questions as to how the seller obtained the merchandise that’s for sale. If the seller is acting under suspicious circumstances then one can presume that the merchandise in question is illegitimate. A very simple, almost foolproof test is to never purchase anything that the seller cannot produce a purchase receipt for.  But if the seller has a receipt proving the purchase date of the exact merchandise, make a copy and keep it. This is further evidence that you used reasonable care to investigate where the property came from.

In addition to getting original purchase receipts, there are several items that one needs to be suspicious about.  Suspicious items include those most often resold by theives.

Receiving Stolen Property Like Jewelry and Watches:

Diamond rings and gold chains are one of the most frequently stolen pieces of merchandise and are often the target of theft. As a result, jewelry dealers must do thorough record keeping and checking in order to make sure that the merchandise they buy is legitimate.

Oklahoma Stolen Bicycle Crimes

A new bicycle can cost between $500 and $2000 dollars making them an attractive target for thieves. Anyone with a chain cutter can easily steal an unattende bicycle.

Stolen Property Like Smart Phones and Notebook Computers

The next most valuable items of consumer property frequently targeted include smart phones and notebook computers. Further, burglars target these electronics in internet cafes and coffee shops. An important element about this crime is affixing the value of a stolen phone. Many over zealous Tulsa County criminal prosecutors will over value the phone in an effort to charge the Tulsa County receiving stolen property crime as a felony

Free Consultation: Charges in Tulsa County Receiving Stolen Property

When it comes to buying jewelry, watches, bicycles and smartphones on the street and not from an established, reputable dealer, it’s probably a good idea to remember the old saying “if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. If you receive charges in Tulsa County  on receiving stolen property, you’ll need to hire an experienced and knowledgeable Tulsa Oklahoma criminal defense attorney like the ones at our firm. Please give us a call today for a free, confidential consultation.

Tulsa Criminal Lawyer Explains Your Rights When Stopped By Police

The police will stop many of us at some point in our lives.  It may be while Your Rights When Stopped By Policetraveling in a motor vehicle, riding a bike, or on foot.  It is imperative that you understand the full extent of your legal rights so that you can protect yourself in the event you are stopped. The old adage that you have the right to remain silent so use it comes to mind. The right to remain silent is just one of several rights you have when stopped by Police. For more information read on or call our Tulsa county criminal lawyers now.

Your Rights When Stopped by Police include the following:

  • You have the right to remain silent. Tell the police in clear language that you wish to remain silent if you so choose.
  • You can refuse to allow the police to search your home, your person, or your car.
  • So long as you are not under arrest, the police cannot detain you.
  • You have the right to an attorney in the event of an arrest. Ask that one be provided immediately.
  • Everyone has these constitutional rights and immigration or citizenship status does not affect your rights.

When You are Stopped for Questioning:

  • Do not run and stay calm. Do not obstruct or resist the police in any manner and keep your hands up and clearly visible.
  • Ask if politely if you are under arrest. If the officer says no, then leave silently.  If the officer states you are under arrest, he or she must explain why.
  • You do not have to answer the officer’s questions. Invoking your rights to remain silent is not punishable.  Express to the officer your wish to remain silent clearly.  You may provide your name in order to identify yourself.
  • You do not have to consent to a search of your person or belongings. However, the police officer can pat you down if they suspect the presence of a weapon.  You should not resist the pat down but do not consent to further searches.

At a Traffic Stop, Know Your Rights:

  • Stop the vehicle in a safe location as quickly as you can. Turn the car off, turn on the light inside your vehicle, open your window slightly and place your hands on the steering wheel.
  • If the officer requests, show your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration.
  • If the officer asks to search your vehicle, you can refuse to provide consent. However, if the officer believes your car holds evidence of a crime, it the officer may search it without your permission.
  • You have the right to remain silent. If you are an un-involved passenger, you can ask to leave.  When the officer says yes, calmly leave.  If the officer says no, you can still exercise your right to remain silent.

Keep these rights in mind so that when stopped by an officer, you can protect yourself to the fullest extent.  Upon arrest, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area as soon as possible.

Get a Consultation regarding Your Rights When Stopped by Police:

Our Tulsa Tulsa County Criminal Attorneys understand the seriousness of any misdemeanor or felony charge. A misdemeanor or felony conviction could result in considerable jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record.  It is imperative you do all you can to prevent conviction on a criminal charge.  Our Tulsa County Lawyers  have the experience and knowledge you need to achieve the best legal outcome.  We can help you determine your rights when stopped by Police. If those rights have been violated this may be a basis for dismissal or reduction in certain charges. Call the criminal defense attorneys  today at 918-379-4864  to schedule your free consultation.

Private Attorneys or Public Defenders in Oklahoma DUI Cases

The outcome of a criminal case should be a determination from the quality of the evidence Public Defenders in Oklahoma DUI Cases. However, the reality of our justice system is far different than the ideal.  If you have a drunk driving charge and are unsure whether to choose a private criminal defense attorneys in Tulsa or public defenders in Oklahoma DUI cases, ask yourself the following questions.

How Much Attention Does Your Case Need?

Public defenders in Oklahoma DUI cases are required to take cases from all individuals who qualify for their services.   With budget cutbacks and an overburdened system, they often have much larger caseloads.  The #1 complaint regarding public defenders in Oklahoma  DUI cases  is the little attention the client receives prior to trial.  With much smaller caseloads, private criminal defense attorneys can usually devote more time to your case.  They can ask the right questions and evaluate the details of your case to reach a more favorable deal with the court.  However, not all private criminal defense lawyers have the right experience and qualifications.

So, just because they have more time doesn’t automatically make their time more valuable. It is important to vet any attorney that will defend your rights in the court of law. Ask the attorney if he/she has experience as a plea bargain negotiator or trial attorney. Find out what level of detail the attorney will provide to your case. Do your homework before you hire a public defender or private attorney.

What is the Quality vs. Cost Analysis?

This is a crucial area of consideration.  It’s a common assumption that public defenders in Oklahoma DUI case are less experienced, but that’s not always the case.  While more experienced public attorneys are generally assigned to felony cases, anyone can start a private law practice.  It is always important to evaluate the experience of the individual DUI attorney.  Many private DUI attorneys have worked as criminal prosecutors and can use that experience and knowledge of the system to your advantage.  If they seem knowledgeable and qualified, they will probably help you reach a more favorable outcome.  But we all know you get what you pay for, so that brings us to our next point: cost.

How Much Can You Afford?

A well-qualified private attorney is almost always better than an over-burdened public defender.  But value does not come without a cost.  Court-appointed attorneys are paid a fixed salary, while private defenders charge their clients by a fixed fee or hourly rate.  While their fees are negotiable, they are also substantially higher than their public counterparts if they have a track record of success.  If you can’t afford a quality private attorney, then a qualified public defender might be a better choice.

Public Defenders Aren’t Really Free:

Fewer people than you think even qualify for public representation.  To apply for a state defender, you must prove to be “indigent” or unable to pay for a private attorney.  Only applicants with incomes well below the poverty line qualify, and even then the services are not free.  Not only do you pay an application fee, but in the case of a conviction, the court will often add attorney fees to the final sentencing.  The court considers this a fair and just reimbursement for the public services you received.

When it comes to DUI, the consequences of a guilty plea or conviction are severe.  For this reason, you want to find an attorney who can provide the right amount of time, experience, and skill to your case.  After these three factors satisfy, cost must be a consideration.  Always do your own research before deciding which attorney is right for you.

We invite you to contact our drunk driving defense attorneys in Tulsa for a consultation. We can provide you with legal advice and guidance on how to best proceed with your criminal matter.

Drug Lawyers Tulsa County Prescription Drugs

The problem of prescription drug trafficking is becoming an increasingly serious issue, both in the State of Oklahoma and nationally.  Estimations show that daily, 2,500  U.S. youth ages 12 to 17 abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.  More than 15Drug Lawyers Tulsa County million people in the U.S. abuse prescription drugs, more than all those that use cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, and heroin combined.  Moreover, prescription drugs are responsible for 45% of overdose deaths, more than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and amphetamines combined (39%).  Clearly, it is an issue needing attention.

New Prescription Drug Laws:

In response to concerns about the proliferation of prescription drug sales, Oklahoma passed a law last May to fight against trafficking of these drugs.  The new law amends Okla. Stat., tit. 63, Section 2-415 and was sponsored by Rep. Pat Ownbey with assistance from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The piece of legislation creates heftier penalties for the carrying of 400 grams of oxycodone, 1,000 grams of morphine, 3,750 grams of hydrocodone, and 500 grams of benzodiazepine.

These four drugs are some of the most common prescriptions in drug abuse.  At the present time, carrying these drugs illegally is not trafficking.  However, when the new law goes into effect on November 1st, trafficking will exist in the possible charges for someone caught with them. Violators will receive punishments large fines of from $100,000 to $500,000, plus prison time.  Subsequent violations would carry additional prison time.  Rep. Ownbey was concerned about these particular drugs because, while all types of trafficking crimes occur in Oklahoma, abuse of prescription drugs is “especially prevalent.”

Drug Charges Under The New Laws:

Oklahoma is getting more serious about combatting illegal drug trafficking.  As criminal defense attorneys, we realize that this means potentially very serious consequences for many of our clients.  The best course of action is to avoid involvement in any kind of illegal trafficking at all.  Unfortunately it simply is the case that not all individuals will follow that path.  Furthermore, sometimes people receive erroneous accusations.  That’s when an experienced drug lawyer is invaluable to negotiating the most favorable outcome possible with a prosecutor.  If necessary, we have skilled litigators who can make the best possible case before a judge or jury.

Oklahoma’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substance Act is in Title 63 of the Oklahoma statutes.  Oklahoma regulates the control and sale of controlled dangerous substances (CDS). These are defined to include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and the compounds used to manufacture them.  The CDS list is divided into five Schedules.  The categorization of the CDS drugs is according to a scale from the most dangerous drugs which have the highest possibility of abuse and addiction with no recognized medical value (Schedule 1), to the least dangerous drugs having the lowest probability of abuse with some recognized medical uses (Schedule 5).  Penalties.

Three of the four prescription drugs subject to the new trafficking laws are on Schedule 2.  This labels them as more dangerous than many other drugs on the market.  Trafficking in any of these drugs is a felony in Oklahoma. If charged with either felony or misdemeanor drug charges contact our Drug Lawyers Tulsa County

Contact  Our Drug Lawyers Tulsa County:

If you receive charges on a drug crime in Oklahoma, whether possession, control, or trafficking, it is critical that you have competent Drug Lawyers Tulsa County on your side.  Call our office today for a consultation, and let us assist you in minimizing the negative impact of a drug charge on your life.


Tulsa County Expungement Attorneys

Tulsa County Expungement

On November 1, 2014, Oklahoma is again amending its expungement laws.  They now provide extra relief for what types of crimes can receive expungement from an individual’s criminal record.  Under Oklahoma criminal law several types of Tulsa County expungement exist.  The two most common or deferred action expungements, sometimes called a section 991 expungement; and a complete expungement, also called a section 18 expungement.  It is important to note that not all expungements are equal nor provide the same relief.

Deferred Expungement Tulsa County:

Deferred action is when the court will withhold a finding a guilt upon a part.  This is as long as they enter a guilty plea and agree to pay fines and costs, as well as go through probation for a determined length of time.  Section 991 expungement occurs after an individual completes their probation associated with a deferred action associated with a guilty plea.  If a individual successfully completes their probation, then the charge shows as dismissed on background checks.  Certain documentation strikes from the record, but arrest records will still be available upon a background search.

Oklahoma Section 18 Expungement:

A section 18 expungement is a complete clearing of the criminal record, including sealing the arrest record. In order to have a criminal matter complete expunged from your record, the following must apply:

  1. You received an acquittal on the charge; or
  2. The conviction reverses with instructions to dismiss by an appellate court of competent jurisdiction, or an appellate court of competent jurisdiction reverses the conviction and the district attorney subsequently dismisses the charge; or
  3. Factual innocence re-establishes by the use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence after the conviction; or
  4. You receive a full pardon on the basis of a written finding by the Governor of actual innocence for the crime for which you receive the sentence; or
  5. You are under arrest and no charges of any type, including charges for an offense different than that for your original arrest, file and the statute of limitations expires or the prosecuting agency declines to file charges; or
  6. You were under eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the commission of the offense and you receive a full pardon for the offense; or
  7. You were charged with one or more misdemeanor or felony crimes, all charges have been dismissed, you were never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against you, and the statute of limitations for refiling the charge or charges has expired or the prosecuting agency confirms that the charge or charges will not be refiled (this doesn’t apply to charges that have been dismissed following the completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence); or
  8. You were charged with a misdemeanor, the charge has been dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred sentence, you have never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against you, and at least one (1) year has passed since the charge was dismissed; or
  9. You were charged with a nonviolent felony offense, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, you have never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the charge was dismissed; or
  10. You receive a misdemeanor conviction, you have no felony convictions, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against you, and at least ten (10) years elapse since the end of the last misdemeanor sentence; or
  11. You were convicted of a nonviolent felony offense, you have received a full pardon for the offense, you have not been convicted of any other felony, you have not been convicted of a separate misdemeanor in the last fifteen (15) years, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against you, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the felony conviction; or
  12. You receive charges or arrest or are the subject of an arrest warrant for a crime of another person who used your name or other identification without the your consent or authorization.

As you can see there are several situations that allow for the complete expungement of a criminal record.  The most important change in this years amendment is that now the felony conviction can also receive expungement.  Prior to this change, if an individual had more than one criminal conviction an expungement would be unavailable.

While it may seem that expungement process is simple, that is far from true.  Several notice requirements must occur. First, a hearing needs scheduling.  Further, if part of the request for relief involves a pardon, the pardon itself must be complete prior to asking for a Tulsa County expungement.

Contact an Expungement Attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma

If you have questions regarding an Oklahoma criminal record expungement or a pardon we can help. Contact our Criminal lawyers and talk with a Tulsa County expungement attorney.

Tulsa County Criminal Lawyers and Drug Court

Drug Court | Tulsa County Criminal Lawyers

Drug Court Alternative to Jail

All criminal drug charges in the state of Oklahoma carry with them serious consequences, if convicted. Whether you receive charges on possession of drugs (marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, etc.), drug distribution, or drug trafficking, among others, you have some obstacles ahead of you in your fight to stay out of jail.

First and foremost, your Tulsa Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney will seek to have your criminal charge or charges dismissed.  For example, if the arrest or interrogation process violates your constitutional rights, certain evidence may be inadmissible against you. If there are no valid grounds for having the criminal charge(s) dismissed, then your attorney will explore other options to minimize the severity of the consequences that may result.

The number one goal for accused individuals is to find a way to avoid jail time if dismissal of the charge(s) is not an option. In Oklahoma, most counties have drug court programs to address the underlying issues related to drug crimes and drug use in this state. The amount of money and resources used to keep drug offenders in jail is astronomical.  Further jail time has not proven to be the best form of rehabilitation. Depending on the unique facts, your Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney may be able to lessen your criminal charge. However, drug court may be inevitable depending on the nature and facts of your drug charge.

Who is Eligible for Drug Court:

In Tulsa County, as is the case in many other counties in Oklahoma, drug court is only felony drug offenses. As such, an individual charged with a first offense misdemeanor marijuana possession would not necessarily be required to participate in drug court. Subsequent drug possession charges may also be felonies and drug court is a definite possibility. Most other drug crimes may certainly result in mandatory drug court participation.

Drug court is somewhat like probation.  Accused individuals must attend rehabilitation programs, perform community service, and pass drug tests for a period of time. If the drug court process completes successfully, the drug charge dismisses. If the process is not successful, the individual may receive a jail sentence. Drug court has proven to be more successful than serving jail time, because drug offenders can address the underlying problems and rehabilitate while remaining a part of society. While Oklahoma has been slower than other states to ease up on the punishment for drug-related criminal charges, having a drug court program is a step in the right direction to reducing the cost of sending people to jail who really don’t deserve to be there in the first place.

Speak With a Drug Court Attorney:

Because drug charges in Oklahoma do have the potential to result in significant jail time, you should consult with a skilled Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney. If your drug charge is very severe, it may be difficult to avoid jail time. However, if you receive charges of drug possession, drug court may be the only alternative to jail time. In drug court, the underlying criminal charge dismisses if you comply with all rules and orders of the court. To fully understand what you are facing, you will need to speak with an attorney highly familiar in drug crimes.

Contact a Tulsa County Criminal Defense Attorney:

If you have a criminal charge and you need a criminal defense lawyer in Tulsa County call us today. We have helped many Oklahomans facing both misdemeanor and felony charges. Call for a free consultation regarding your drug case today.

Murder Charges and Defenses

Under common law, murder is the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought. The intent to kill, to do serious bodily harm,to commit a felony, and outrageous Tuls County Lawyers | Murder And Criminal Defense | recklessness constitutes common law murder. Under the typical state view, criminal law will take a step further and will measure the degree of the murder. Under the typical state view, the law will first ask whether there was a common law murder. Then, the law measures the culpability of the murder in the first degree or second degree. Tulsa Lawyers Group offers free consultations to those charged with murder in Oklahoma.

First Degree Murder:

Murder in the first degree is a willful, deliberate killing and includes premeditation.  The court utilizes factors to determine whether there was in fact premeditation such as the want of provocation, threats, declarations, ill-will between parties, brutal manner, nature and the number of wounds, conduct, and the statements of the defendant. On the other hand, any unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought that is not willful, with premeditation, or deliberate is murder in the second degree.


The common law also recognizes manslaughter. If the malice can mitigate, the defendant may be able to push for manslaughter instead of murder. In order to argue voluntary manslaughter, the defendant must satisfy the provocation test. The provocation test states that the defendant must have been provoked, the provocation must have been adequate, there must not have been an adequate cooling off period, there must be a causal connection between the killing, passion, and provocation, and at the time of the killing the defendant must still have been angry and provoked. The law does not presume adequate provocation from words alone. In fact, the law requires that adequate provocation be of the nature to inflame the reasonable person to act out of passion rather than reason.

Felony Murder Rule:

Felony murder rule is the doctrine that allows the state to prosecute a defendant if during the commission of a felony; there was murder Murder on the scene. Under the felony murder doctrine, the state no longer carries the burden of showing the necessary mens rea. If the felony was that of an enumerated felony, the defendant will be charged under murder in the first degree. The enumerated felonies are arson, rape, robbery, sodomy, burglary, and kidnapping. If the felony was not enumerated, the defendant will be charged under murder in the second degree. However, the felony murder rule doctrine is subject to three exceptions.

Exceptions To Felony Murder Rule:

The first exception, inherently dangerous, applies only to murder in the second degree charges. The felony must have been inherently dangerous in order to hold the defendant criminally responsible for the death. To determine this, the court looks to the elements of the crime, without regard to the defendant. Then, the court will determine whether the crime by its very nature could occur without substantially creating the risk of death.

The next exception is The Merger Doctrine. The Merger exception states, if the felony is an integral part and included in the fact of the homicide then there will not be felony murder unless the defendant had an independent felonious intent. Basically, if the defendant intended to kill another person, there will not be felony murder. Thus the state will have the burden of proving the mens rea of murder. The merger exception applies to both first and second degree murder.

The last exception is agency. Under the majority view, the doctrine requires that the defendant be the person who physically killed the individual. On the other hand, in Oklahoma, we hold the minority view. The minority view is the proximate cause approach to agency. This view states that if the defendant put into motion the chain of events that led to the murder, then the defendant receives charges under felony murder.

Self Defense and Murder:

Self-defense is a justification defense. Under common law, the defendant must have reasonably feared imminent, unlawful, and serious bodily harm or death and reasonably believed that deadly force was necessary in order to raise self-defense. The law does impose further restrictions on self-defense and the use of deadly force. The Initial Aggressor rule states that there is no self-defense if the defendant was the initial aggressor unless the defendant effectively communicated withdraw.

Further, the duty to retreat may be present where there is an avenue of apparent safety and the jurisdiction does not have “Stand Your Ground” laws already in place. However, in most state, stand your ground rules are in place to preserve an individual’s right not to retreat. The castle doctrine further holds an individual has no duty to retreat inside his or her dwelling or workplace. However, the aggressor must be an outside aggressor.