Alternative Programs for Oklahoma Offenders – Criminal Defense Lawyer

There are also a variety of programs that defendants have the opportunity to participate in. It depends on the county and how big the county is for the existing programs. For instance, Oklahoma County has a drug, DUI, and mental health court. They also have a female diversion program, a ReMerge, and a veteran’s diversion program. ReMerge is a diversion program designed for female defendants who have minor children or are pregnant. There is also community sentencing, which is supposed to be an alternative to incarceration for offenders convicted of a felony with a prior conviction of a felony. This includes some crimes of violence.

The vast majority of these diversion programs only allow people who are not violent. If you have a conviction or even an arrest for some sort of violent crime, domestic violence, assault and battery, then the chances of you getting into these programs becomes decreased but not completely eliminated. There is still the possibility you can get into one of these programs, but it is going to be very difficult. There are certain other requirements. For instance, drug court, they want people who are drug abusers—not drug dealers.

Drug Court

In Oklahoma, drug court is an immediate and highly-structured judicial intervention process for substance abuse treatment of eligible offenders that expedite the criminal case and requires successful completion of a plea agreement. Drug courts are typically set up for individuals charged with felonies, but counties may also establish a misdemeanor drug court. The statutes that cover drug court in Oklahoma are 22 O.S. §§ 471–472.

Who Is Eligible For Drug Court in Oklahoma?

The following is a list of requirements for admission into drug court:

  1. The offender’s arrest or charge does not involve a crime of violence against any person, unless there is a specific treatment program in the jurisdiction designed to address domestic violence and the offense is related to domestic violence and substance abuse;
  1. The offender’s arrest or charge does not involve a crime of violence against any person, unless there is a specific treatment program in the jurisdiction designed to address domestic violence and the offense is related to domestic violence and substance abuse;
  2. The offender has no prior felony conviction in Oklahoma or another state for a violent offense within the last 10 years, except as may be allowed in a domestic violence treatment program authorized by the drug court program;
  3. The offender’s arrest or charge does not involve a violation of the Trafficking In Illegal Drugs Act;
  4. The offender has committed a felony offense; and
  5. The offender:
    1. Admits to having a substance abuse addiction,
    2. Appears to have a substance abuse addiction,
    3. Is known to have a substance abuse addiction,
    4. The arrest or charge is based upon an offense eligible for drug court, or
    5. Underwent an offender screening and the assessment recommends drug court.

The prosecutor must also approve the offender’s admission into drug court. After receiving the prosecutor’s approval, the drug court staff must then approve the offender’s admission. Once all the necessary parties approve of the offender’s admission, the offender will sign a plea agreement. The plea agreement will state the outcome upon the successful and unsuccessful completion of drug court. The offender will then plead guilty to the charge(s) in front of the drug court judge and enter drug court. The offender’s attorney will typically withdraw, and a public defender will be appointed to represent the offender while in drug court.

What Happens In Drug Court?

Drug court lasts between six and 24 months. The period of supervision after drug court may last six months–one year; it may be extended by up to six months.

The offender will be given a treatment plan. They must attend treatment and be subject to random drug tests. Regular court appearances are required. Relapses and restarts are considered part of the offender’s rehabilitation and recovery process. The court may modify a treatment plan that is not benefitting the offender. Relapses are addressed through progressive sanctions or incentives, rather than removing the offender—unless the conduct requires revocation.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the driving privileges of the offender have been suspended, revoked, cancelled, or denied by the Department of Public Safety and if the drug court judge determines that no other means of transportation for the offender is available, the drug court judge may enter a written order requiring the Department of Public Safety to stay any and all such actions against the Class D driving privileges of the offender.

If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the offender has violated the plea agreement or performance contract, and sanctions have been insufficient to gain compliance, the offender will be terminated from drug court and sentenced per the plea agreement.

What Happens After A Defendant Completes Drug Court?

When an offender has successfully completed drug court, the criminal case against the offender will be:

  1. Dismissed if the offense was a first felony offense or misdemeanor; or
  2. If the offender has a prior felony conviction, the disposition will be as specified in the written plea agreement.

The drug court judge may waive remaining fines, court costs, and fees upon successful completion if the court believes that continued payment would create a financial hardship for the offender. The judge may also waive any requirement that fines and costs be satisfied by the offender prior to their being eligible for a provisional driver license.

Sources: 22 O.S. § 471.1, 22 O.S. § 471.2, 22 O.S. § 471.3, 22 O.S. § 471.4, 22 O.S. § 471.6, 22 O.S. § 471.9, 22 O.S. § 471.7, & 47 O.S. § 6-212

Regimented Inmate Discipline (RID)

The Delayed Sentencing Program for Young Adults in Oklahoma is typically known as the Regimented Inmate Discipline (RID) program. The primary statute that covers RID in Oklahoma is 22 O.S. § 996.3. RID is a special type of deferred sentencing option for certain young adults who are neither juveniles or youthful offenders. Most of the time, an individual in RID is placed into a “boot camp” style environment. An eligible offender is any adult 18–21 years old as of the date of a verdict of guilty or a guilty/no contest plea for a nonviolent felony offense or a juvenile who has been certified to stand trial as an adult for a nonviolent felony offense, who has no charges pending for a violent offense. A defendant must plead before their 22nd birthday to be eligible for RID. The offender cannot have been convicted of any of the following crimes:

  1. Assault, battery, or assault and battery with a dangerous or deadly weapon;
  2. Aggravated assault and battery on a police officer, sheriff, highway patrolman, or any other officer of the law;
  3. Poisoning with intent to kill;
  4. Shooting with intent to kill;
  5. Assault with intent to kill;
  6. Using a vehicle to facilitate the intentional discharge of any kind of firearm;
  7. Discharging any firearm or other deadly weapon at or into any dwelling;
  8. Assault with intent to commit a felony;
  9. Assaults while masked or disguised;
  10. Murder in the first degree;
  11. Murder in the second degree;
  12. Manslaughter in the first degree;
  13. Manslaughter in the second degree;
  14. Kidnapping;
  15. Burglary in the first degree;
  16. Kidnapping for extortion;
  17. Maiming;
  18. Robbery;
  19. Robbery in the first degree;
  20. Robbery in the second degree;
  21. Armed robbery;
  22. Robbery by two or more persons;
  23. Robbery with dangerous weapon or imitation firearm;
  24. Any crime against a child;
  25. Wiring equipment, vehicle, or structure with explosives;
  26. Forcible sodomy;
  27. Rape in the first degree;
  28. Rape by instrumentation;
  29. Lewd or indecent proposition or lewd or indecent act with a child;
  30. Use of a firearm or offensive weapon to commit or attempt to commit a felony;
  31. Pointing firearms;
  32. Rioting;
  33. Inciting;
  34. Arson in the first degree;
  35. Endangering human life during arson;
  36. Procure, produce, distribute, or possess juvenile pornography;
  37. Parental consent to juvenile pornography;
  38. Distributing obscene material or child pornography;
  39. Unlawful manufacturing, attempting to unlawfully manufacture or aggravated manufacturing of any controlled dangerous substance; and
  40. Any violation of the Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act.

What Happens While A Defendant Is In RID?

RID is a very intense and structured probation or confinement. It lasts 180 days to one year. Some counties have an out-of-custody RID option. Typically, a defendant enters a plea before entering RID. The court will delay sentencing when it orders an offender into RID. The plea paperwork will state the outcome for the defendant’s case upon successful completion of RID. Offenders who violate the conditions their sentence in RID can get sentenced to prison—with or without suspension.

While in RID, the Department of Corrections will recommend a course of action for the defendant that may include counseling, psychiatric or medical treatment, education or vocational training, work, restitution, and other programs that offer the best opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender. If the plan recommends confinement, the plan has to state specifically the type of confinement that the Department of Corrections proposes to use and the amount of time the offender will spend in that confinement, including but not limited to boot camp, substance abuse treatment, and vocational or educational placement.

What Happens After A Defendant Completes RID?

After completion of RID, the court must either:

  1. Defer the judgment;
  2. Sentence the offender to any sentence provided by law in the custody of the Department of Corrections;
  3. Suspend the execution of sentence;
  4. Sentence the offender to community sentencing; or
  5. Dismiss the criminal charges and proceedings.

Sources: 22 O.S. § 996.1 & 22 O.S. § 996.3

Community Sentencing

Community sentencing is a punishment that may be added as a condition of probation for a deferred or suspended sentence. Succinctly, it’s very intense probation. The statutes that cover Community Sentencing are 22 O.S. §§ 988.1–990.1. You are eligible for Community Sentencing if you:

  • Entered a plea other than not guilty to a felony offense;
  • Completed a Level of Services Inventory or another assessment instrument and have been found to be in a range other than the low range;
  • Have been convicted of at least one prior felony; and
  • Are not otherwise prohibited by law,

or had an assessment authorized by Section 3-704 of Title 43A of the Oklahoma Statutes and the assessment recommends community sentencing. This is sometimes referred to as an “offender screening.” Provided, however, no person who has been convicted of or who has entered a plea other than not guilty to an offense enumerated in 57 O.S. § 571(2) (“violent crimes”) is eligible for a community sentence or community punishment unless the prosecutor consents to it.

The following services are available to offenders participating in community sentencing:

  1. Community service with or without compensation to the offender;
  2. Substance abuse treatment and availability for periodic drug testing of offenders following treatment;
  3. Varying levels of supervision by the Department of Corrections probation officers or another qualified supervision source;
  4. Education and literacy provided by the State Department of Education, the county library system, the local school board, or another qualified source;
  5. Employment opportunities and job skills training provided by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education or another qualified source;
  6. Enforced collections provided by the local court clerk or another state agency; and
  7. The availability of county jail or another restrictive housing facility for limited disciplinary sanctions.

The court may revoke or accelerate a community punishment to the original sentence imposed during the term of the sentence. When a community sentence is revoked to state imprisonment, the court will give a day-for-day credit for any term of incarceration actually served as the community punishment.

What is a Level of Services Inventory (LSI)?

A Level of Services Inventory (LSI) is an evaluation that may be conducted to determine a defendant’s eligibility for community sentencing. Another type of assessment may be conducted so long as it is designed to predict risk to recidivate and is approved by the Department of Corrections. The completed assessment accompanied by a written supervision plan must be presented to and reviewed by the court prior to determining any punishment for the offense. The purpose of the assessment is to identify the extent of the deficiencies and pro-social needs of the defendant, the potential risk to commit additional offenses that threaten public safety, and the appropriateness of various community punishments.

If it’s determined that an offender can’t be adequately evaluated using the LSI or another approved assessment, the offender will be deemed ineligible for any community services pursuant to the Oklahoma Community Sentencing Act, and they will be sentenced as prescribed by law for the offense. The willful failure or refusal of the defendant to be assessed and evaluated by using the LSI or another approved assessment precludes the defendant from eligibility for any community punishment.

The completed LSI, or other approved assessment, will include a written supervision plan and identify an appropriate community punishment if any, when the offender is considered eligible for community punishments based upon the completed risk/need score from the LSI assessment of the offender. Unless otherwise prohibited by law, only offenders scoring in a range other than the low range on the LSI assessment and having at least one prior felony conviction are eligible for community sentencing.

The court is not required to sentence any offender to a community punishment regardless of an eligible score on the LSI. Any felony offender scoring in the low risk/need levels on the LSI may be sentenced to a suspended sentence with minimal, if any, conditions of the sentence to be paid by the offender. If the LSI or another assessment has been conducted, the evaluation report accompanies the judgment and sentence.

Sources: 22 O.S. § 988.18, 22 O.S. § 988.8, 22 O.S. § 988.2, & 22 O.S. § 988.19