Category: Blog

What is aggressive defense?

I’ve had people ask me what it means to provide “aggressive defense.” While the image of Tom Cruise shouting at Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men may come to mind, shouting at someone is not exactly what it means to aggressively defend a client.

Aggressive defense means that I will explore many avenues to get the best outcome for my clients. This involves thoroughly examining the police report, warrant, charging document, and evidence. I will aggressively look for things that could help my clients. Other places that could provide beneficial information for my clients include case law with similar fact patters, witnesses, and the statutes themselves.

Aggressive defense also means providing the prosecutor with information on my clients that gives a more complete picture of who my client is. I want my clients to be more than just a case number and a crime. The client may be a hard worker at his or her job, at home with the kids, or at school. Maybe the client does a lot of volunteer work at church. I frequently ask clients to get letters of recommendation from their employers and church leadership. These, and other things that humanize a defendant, can help the prosecutor see the client in a more positive light.

My goal is always to have my clients’ cases dismissed. If that is not possible, then I do everything I can to help achieve the clients’ goals. Providing aggressive defense for my clients offers the greatest chance of achieving those goals.

If you have any questions or need a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma, you can call me any time at (405) 633-3420.

Pretextual stops — or — Why cops can use a minor traffic infraction as an excuse to stop you in hopes they can bust you for another more serious crime

The dictionary on my MacBook Pro defines pretext as “a reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason.”

Consider the following scenario: If a cop thinks you have pot in your car and wants to stop you, can he use a minor traffic infraction to pull you over?

The Supreme Court, in Whren v. United States, says YES. So long as a cop has probable cause (about a > 50% chance) to believe he can issue a traffic citation, he can pull you over. The cop may then investigate his suspicion of pot being in your car. He has two options–both of which are not favorable to the driver.

  1. The cop can search the car if he (during his investigation while he is conducting the traffic stop) develops probable cause to believe there is pot in your car. OR
  2. The cop can then simply arrest you if he pulled you over for an offense for which you can be arrested or if he found something else during his investigation for which you could be arrested. The cop can then impound your car and conduct an “inventory” of your car. I put “inventory” in quotes because the vehicle “inventory” is typically a pretext (excuse) to allow them to search your car.

In Texas, a typical pretextual stop is based on a section of the transportation code that says that individuals must be walking on a sidewalk if there is a sidewalk available. So, what cops frequently do is cruise around minority neighborhoods with sidewalks and look for people not walking not the sidewalks. This gives the cops an excuse to shake them down. Another doozy is a statute defining the distance before a turn that a driver has to indicate. The cop follows the individual around until they indicate a foot or two less than the required distance. (Who can tell this distance when they’e driving, anyway?)

Thankfully, I have not found similar statutes here in Oklahoma. But there are others that apply just the same to pretextual stops. Speed limits, tail lamps, and signaling turns are just some of the areas the cops can look at if they intend to pull you over. Bottom line is the cops need few excuses to pull you over and have many ways to eventually search your car. However, they often are not familiar with the finer points of constitutional law. A defense attorney with keen attention to detail will be able to review your case to determine whether or not rules and your rights were violated.

If you have any questions or need a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma, you can call me any time at (405) 633-3420.

Collateral Consequences

Most people are familiar with the typical punishments for crimes such as prison or fines. However, there are numerous other very specific penalties attached to almost every crime. These are called collateral consequences.

If all your attorney tells you is that you are facing up to X number or days in jail and some amount in fine, that is likely not the entire story. Be sure to find out what the collateral consequences are. An easy way to find out is by going to the ABA’s collateral consequences website, http://www.abacollateralconsequences.org/search/?jurisdiction=39.

Let’s take a crime involving controlled substances in Oklahoma. Go to the ABA website and search for “controlled substance.” That search returns 116 entries. That means a controlled substance conviction in Oklahoma could potentially negatively affect you in up to 116 ways!

Examples of an Oklahoma controlled substance collateral consequence:

  • Eligibility for a handgun license
  • Eligibility to adopt
  • Eligibility for protection from discriminatory housing practices
  • Eligibility for bail on appeal
  • License to sell low-point beer
  • And MANY more!

Looking specifically at the handgun license eligibility, 21 Okl.St.Ann. § 1290.10 outlines the conditions that make someone ineligible for a handgun license. It states, among other things, that any misdemeanor “conviction relating to illegal drug use or possession” results in your being prohibited from getting a license for “TEN YEARS from date of completion of a sentence.” (emphasis added) So, if you plead guilty and are put on probation for five years, then the ten years starts after the five years of probation!

Collateral consequences can be disastrous and are often overlooked. They can jeopardize your livelihood if they affect your ability to do business. And, as noted above, they can affect your ability to protect yourself.

A good lawyer should explain the full range of consequences that a guilty plea entails–not just the maximum prison time and fine. Therefore, a guilty plea should not be taken lightly even if it seems to be the easiest thing to do at that time. As your attorney, I will thoroughly explain the consequences of pleading guilty so that you can make the most informed decision possible. I will also explore every possible avenue to have your case dismissed.

If you have any questions or need a criminal defense attorney call me any time at (405) 633-3420.

Frank Urbanic’s appearances on the Fox News Channel

This is a video of my two appearances on The Fox News Channel. The first was on May 11, 2007 where I proposed to my girlfriend. I then appeared via phone on September 22, 2007 to update the Fox & Friends gang just prior to my getting married.

While my appearances were not law-related, they give you a good idea of how I operate. No, it’s not that I keep people in the dark about something then spring it on them at the last minute! The appearances demonstrate my creativity, persistence, and passion for things I care about.

People always ask me how I made this happen. I had no friends on the inside, so this all came about through my own efforts. My then-girlfriend, Audra, and I planned a trip to New York to visit one of my best friends and check out the city. I intended to propose to Audra at some point during that trip. Wanting to make it memorable, I thought that it would be cool to propose on live tv.

My original idea was to propose during one of Fox & Friends’s outdoor segments. They typically go outside the studio each morning and talk to some people. I thought that if I would propose to Audra if I could get a few seconds of that time. So, I started emailing the show regularly about a month out from our trip. Thinking they might be more receptive to a member of the military, I sent each email from my military email.

After about two weeks of emailing the show, a producer emailed me back. He said he would love to accommodate me. He came up with the idea of a quiz show where Audra and I would be contestants. The last question would be my proposal to Audra.

The morning we were to appear, I told Audra that we were going to stop by the Fox News Chanel studio to wave behind the glass. Unbeknownst to her, I had told all our friends and family my plan. As we were getting ready that morning, it began to rain. I thought we were going to get canceled. Then, a producer called me and told me that our segment could be moved inside if we still wanted to do it. So, of course I accepted that offer! I told the producer what we were wearing so they could spot us.

Soon after we showed up outside the studio, someone came out and asked if we wanted to come in and play a quiz game. I acted surprised, and Audra was in a state of disbelief. We entered the studio, and the rest is history.

The follow-on appearance was given just prior to our getting married. This was essentially us milking our 15 minutes of fame for all it was worth.

This experience is illustrative of my approach to practicing law. My creative, out-of-the-box, thinking led to one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. I will apply that same creativity when when working to resolve your case. My persistence in contacting the show prevented an incredible opportunity from slipping past me. I will be just as determined to get you the best possible outcome when advocating for you. Finally, my passion for my wife and accomplishing a goal is obvious in that video. My recognition for great outcomes in prior cases and my incredible performance in law school are evidence of my passion for the practice of law. I will approach your case with the same passion and enthusiasm that I have shown in these previous endeavors.

If you have any questions about Oklahoma Criminal law, please do not hesitate to contact me at (405) 633-3420 or [email protected] If I do not answer the phone, please leave me a short description your case–including where you are charged, when you were charged/accused/arrested, what charges you are facing, and anything else you think may be helpful in determining a fair fee for my services!

Thank you for taking the time to visit my website and read my blog. I’m open to suggestions for future blog entries and short videos.

All the best,

Frank Urbanic

A Simple Start to Each Case

My first step after interviewing a client seems pretty obvious, but surprisingly it’s not always done. In the words of the great Pat Metze, “RGDS!”. Put another way … Read the statute!

I read the statute of the crime my clients are charged with every time. Not everyone does this. Even the most experienced attorneys do not have every statute memorized. This is why we must familiarize ourselves with the statute every time it applies to one of our cases. Although it seems so obvious, it is often overlooked.

There are numerous reasons for reading the statute. The most important is to know exactly what the client is accused of doing and what the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. If there are multiple elements to a crime, then the state must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. The law could have changed. The Oklahoma legislature is constantly rewriting laws, so a law could easily be different from one year to the next. Finally, the statute must match up with the charging document. Mismatches mean that someone working for the state messed something up.

I pledge to you that I will read the statute of the crime you are accused of committing whether I have had one or 1000 prior clients charged with that crime. Additionally, I will review previously decided cases that are relevant to your case. Reading relevant cases helps build a better picture and highlights areas in your case to look at for potential issues.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your case please do not hesitate to call me! (405) 633-3420

Urbanic.Law is here!

My new website is now officially open!

It’s set up with some great features. The posts are integrated with FaceBook and Twitter, so each post here gets sent there, as well. I also have a YouTube channel and Google+ page.

I will be using this blog to talk about new developments at The Urbanic Law Firm such as the latest technology we are using and successes in court. Soon, I will begin a series of brief videos called “Oklahoma Law In Under 60 Seconds.” They’ll hit on a very narrow, but important, section of Oklahoma criminal law.

Please send me any feedback you have for this website! I manage the website myself and pass the savings onto my clients.

Frank