New Oklahoma laws in 2016 Part II – Discretion to file misdemeanor charges under certain circumstances

HB 2472 gives prosecutors discretion to file charges for non-85% crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies. Eighty-five percent crimes are considered to be particularly bad crimes. They include murder, first-degree rape, and child molestation. They are found in 21 OS 13.1: http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=104306.

So, this new law means that any felony not listed in 21 OS 13.1 can be charged as a misdemeanor. This is a huge deal because there are a ton of ways that someone can get charged with a felony in Oklahoma. This will prevent our prisons and courts from becoming clogged up with people who are accused of crimes that are technically felonies but are not on the heinous end of the spectrum. I think if prosecutors take advantage of this new law then we will see people get out of the system much more quickly.

Being a convicted felon sucks, and it will damage someone for life. This law requires the prosecutor to use their discretion when deciding whether or not to file a felony as a misdemeanor by looking into the nature of the criminal offense and the age, background and criminal history of the person who committed the criminal offense–among other things. This will be particularly helpful to young people and people who committed crimes where nobody was hurt.

The entire text of the bill can be found here: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2015-16%20ENR/hB/HB2472%20ENR.PDF. It will be codified in 22 OS 234. This law goes into effect November 1, 2016

If you or anyone you know has been arrested in Oklahoma for any crime —

Don’t panic! Call Urbanic. 405-633-3420