What Is Oklahoma’s Self-Defense Law?

The Oklahoma Legislature recognizes that the citizens of the State of Oklahoma have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes or places of business.

A person or an owner, manager, or employee of a business is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself, herself, or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

  1. The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or place of business, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against the will of that person from the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or place of business; and
  2. The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

The above presumption doesn’t apply if:

  1. The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle. Examples include an owner, lessee, or titleholder. There cannot be a protective order from domestic violence in effect or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person;
  2. The person or persons sought to be removed are children or grandchildren or are otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
  3. The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or place of business to further an unlawful activity.

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it’s necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself, herself, or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. This is Oklahoma’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle of another person, or a place of business is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence. A person who uses defensive force, as permitted pursuant to the above paragraphs, is justified in using such defensive force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such defensive force. This is known as the “Castle Doctrine.”

A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of defensive force, but the law enforcement agency may not arrest the person for using defensive force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the defensive force that was used was unlawful. A court will award reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in this law.

This law and the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act may not be construed to require any person using a weapon in accordance with this section to be licensed in any manner. Someone who points a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop, or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony may not be deemed guilty of committing a criminal act.

“Criminal prosecution” includes charging or prosecuting the defendant.

“Defensive force” includes, but is not limited to, pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or to thwart, stop, or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony.

“Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people.

“Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.

“Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

Source: 21 O.S. § 1289.25

Current as of December 15, 2017

For more information on Self Defense Law In Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 633-3420 today.