Suspended Sentence in Oklahoma – Law & Effect – Criminal Defense Attorney

With a suspended sentence in Oklahoma, the defendant pleads guilty and receives an immediate conviction. Either all or part of the sentence they receive will be suspended for a period of time. If the defendant stays out of trouble and abides by the terms of probation, then the defendant’s reward is not going to prison or jail. A suspended sentence is a bittersweet sentence. It’s good because the defendant may not immediately go to jail or prison. However, it is unpleasant because there are terms to the probation. If the defendant does not comply with those terms, then the defendant may go to jail or prison. The statute that covers suspended sentences in Oklahoma is 22 O.S. § 991a.

A suspended sentence can have harsh results. The defendant could do great throughout almost the entire suspended sentence, but if he or she messes up at the very end of the probation, then they could be sentenced to prison for the entire amount of probation. For example, if a defendant is on a 10-year suspended sentence and they are good for 9 years, but they are arrested for committing a new crime during the last year. The state can revoke the entire suspended sentence and put the defendant in jail for up to 10 years. The maximum length of a suspended sentence is the maximum length of punishment in prison for a crime.

In addition to suspending a sentence, the court may order the convicted defendant at the time of sentencing or at any time during the suspended sentence to do one or more of the following:

  1. Pay restitution plus interest;
  2. Reimburse any state agency for amounts paid by the state agency for hospital and medical expenses incurred by the victim or victims as a result of the defendant’s criminal act;
  3. Perform community service;
  4. Pay a reasonable sum into any trust fund that provides restitution payments by convicted defendants to victims of crimes committed within this state wherein such victim has incurred a financial loss;
  5. Confinement in the county jail for up to six months,
  6. Confinement as provided by law together with a term of post-imprisonment community supervision for not less than three years of the total term allowed by law for imprisonment, with or without restitution;
  7. Repay the reward or part of the reward paid by a local certified crime stoppers program and the Oklahoma Reward System;
  8. Reimburse the OSBI for costs incurred by that agency during its investigation of the crime for which the defendant pleaded guilty, no contest, or was convicted;
  9. Reimburse the OSBI any authorized law enforcement agency for all costs incurred by that agency for cleaning up an illegal drug laboratory site for which the defendant pleaded guilty, no contest, or was convicted;
  10. Pay a reasonable sum to the Crime Victims Compensation Board for the benefit of crime victims;
  11. Reimburse the court fund for amounts paid to court-appointed attorneys for representing the defendant;
  12. Participate in an assessment and evaluation by an assessment agency or assessment personnel certified by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and, as determined by the assessment, participate in an alcohol and drug substance abuse course or treatment program or both, or as ordered by the court;
  13. Attend a victim’s impact panel;
  14. Install an interlock in each vehicle the defendant drives;
  15. Confined by electronic monitoring administered and supervised by the Department of Corrections or a community sentence provider;
  16. Perform one or more courses of treatment, education, or rehabilitation for any conditions, behaviors, deficiencies, or disorders that may contribute to criminal conduct;
  17. Submit to alcohol or drug testing;
  18. Pay a fee, costs for treatment, education, supervision, participation in a program, or any combination thereof as determined by the court;
  19. Supervised by a Department of Corrections employee, a private supervision provider, or other person designated by the court;
  20. Obtain positive behavior modeling by a trained mentor;
  21. Serve a term of confinement in a restrictive housing facility available in the community;
  22. Serve a term of confinement in the county jail at night or during weekends;
  23. Obtain employment or participate in employment-related activities;
  24. Participate in the mandatory day reporting to facilities or persons for services, payments, duties, or person-to-person contacts as specified by the court;
  25. Payday fines not to exceed 50% of the net wages earned.
  26. Submit to blood or saliva testing;
  27. Repair or restore property damaged by the defendant’s conduct, if the court determines the defendant possesses sufficient skill to repair or restore the property and the victim consents to the repairing or restoring of the property;
  28. Restore damaged property in kind or payment of out-of-pocket expenses to the victim, if the court is able to determine the actual out-of-pocket expenses suffered by the victim;
  29. Attend a victim-offender reconciliation program if the victim agrees to participate and the offender is deemed appropriate for participation;
  30. Require a person convicted of prostitution to receive counseling for the behavior that may have caused such person to engage in prostitution activities;
  31. For a sex offender sentenced after November 1, 1989, and required by law to register pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act, the court must require the person to comply with sex offender specific rules and conditions of supervision established by the Department of Corrections and require the person to participate in a treatment program designed for the treatment of sex offenders during the period of time while the offender is subject to supervision by the Department of Corrections. The treatment program must include polygraph examinations specifically designed for use with sex offenders for purposes of supervision and treatment compliance and will be administered not less than every six months during the period of supervision.
  32. Participate in a drug court program or a community sanctions program;
  33. For a defendant convicted of any false or bogus check violation, impose a fee of $25 to be paid to the victim for each check and impose a bogus check fee to be paid to the district attorney; and
  34. Any other provision specifically ordered by the court.

What Is A Sentence Revocation In Oklahoma?

A sentence revocation in Oklahoma is where the state revokes all or part of a suspended sentence—they want to put you in jail or prison. If the defendant does something to violate the terms of that probation, then the state will file an application to revoke the suspended sentence. The prosecutor has until midnight on the last day of the term of the suspended sentence to seek revocation of all, or any part of, the sentence. The defendant must be promptly arraigned by the court, and the defendant may plead guilty or not guilty. A hearing on the merits of the application must happen within 20 days from the defendant’s plea of not guilty. The defendant may waive that 20-day requirement.

The burden of proof at a hearing on the application to revoke is low. It is the civil standard, which is “preponderance of the evidence.” The state must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated the terms of their probation. In other words, the state must prove that it was more likely than not that the defendant violated the terms of their probation. Some probation violations are worse than others. On the spectrum of probation violations, the worst type of probation violation is the commission of a new crime. The least bad probation violation is not paying money to the court. In-between, there are other probation violations that could include not paying restitution, not attending classes, not getting clean drug tests, or not completing community service.

An application to revoke will act to at least serve as a wakeup call to the defendant by letting them know that they are in violation of their probation. Just because a motion to revoke gets filed does not mean that the defendant will automatically be going to jail or prison. Prosecutors frequently give the defendant an opportunity to get back on the right track. If the defendant does not get on the right track during the pendency of the application to revoke, then the prosecutor will likely ask that the sentence be either revoked in part or in full.

When a sentence gets revoked, the defendant will go to either jail or prison, up to the number of years that they were sentenced to. Often, a deal can be worked out with the prosecutor short of revoking the sentence, such as a sanction on the defendant. Examples of sanctions include fines, drug tests, jail, or community service. Many times, prosecutors ask that the defendant provide a clean drug test on the day of court in order to not go to jail or prison. This is why it’s extremely important to not do drugs while on probation. If you test positive for drugs on the day of court, then that could be enough to seal your fate and have your sentence revoked.

Sources: 22 O.S. § 991a & 22 O.S. 991c