Tag: domestic violence

Domestic Violence Law Updated – 2019 Oklahoma Laws

This update reduces the categories of people eligible to be charged with domestic violence in Oklahoma. Previously, if you committed an assault and battery against anyone you were related with “by blood or marriage,” you would have been committing an act of domestic violence. The biggest change in this statute narrows the definition of by eliminating that extremely broad category of people. This law also mandates participation in a batterer’s intervention program for anyone on a deferred or suspended sentence.

Oklahoma’s Current Definition of Domestic Violence

domestic violence lawyer oklahomaYou commit an act of domestic violence in Oklahoma if you commit an assault and battery against a current or former:

  • intimate partner or
  • family or household member

“Intimate partner” means:

  • current or former spouses,
  • people who are or were in a dating relationship,
  • people who are the biological parents of the same child, regardless of their marital status or whether they have lived together at any time, and
  • people who currently or formerly lived together in an intimate way, primarily characterized by affectionate or sexual involvement. A sexual relationship may be an indicator that a person is an intimate partner, but is never a necessary condition.

“Family or household members” are:

  • parents, including grandparents, stepparents, adoptive parents and foster parents,
  • children, including grandchildren, stepchildren, adopted children, and foster children, and
  • people otherwise related by blood or marriage living in the same household.

This is not a huge change. The only people this really excludes are siblings, cousins, and aunts/uncles/nephews/nieces who have never lived together. It was silly to consider a fight between two distant relatives “domestic violence” just because they technically had a blood relation or relation by marriage. This new definition also excludes anyone and everyone who ever once lived together. So, roomates who aren’t related, didn’t have sex with each other, and no longer live together are also not eligible for domestic violence charges.

Batterers’ Intervention Program Required

Domestic violence charges now require that anyone on probation complete an assessment and follow the recommendations of a batterers’ intervention program. Counseling only is no longer permitted.

Definitions Changed

“Dating relationship” means intimate association, primarily characterized by affectionate or sexual involvement. A casual acquaintance or ordinary fraternization between persons in a business or social context doesn’t constitute a dating relationship.

“Victim support person” means a person affiliated with a domestic violence, sexual assault, or adult human sex trafficking program, certified by the Attorney General or operating under a tribal government, who provides support and assistance for a person who files a petition under the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act.

“Domestic abuse” means any act of physical harm, or the threat of imminent physical harm that is committed by an adult, emancipated minor, or minor child 13 years old or older against another adult, emancipated minor, or minor child who is currently or was previously an intimate partner or family or household member.

HB 2630 amended 21 O.S. § 644 and 22 O.S. § 60.1. It went into effect on November 1, 2019

Sources: HB 2630, 21 O.S. § 644, & 22 O.S. § 60.1

Current as of February 24, 2020. Note: laws are subject to change at any time! Visit the linked statutes for the most accurate law.

Charged with domestic violence in Oklahoma? Call OKC domestic violence attorney Frank Urbanic at 405-633-3420.

Don’t panic! Call Urbanic.®

Domestic Violence Court Program – 2017 Oklahoma Laws #27

oklahoma domestic violence attorneyAny district or municipal court of record of Oklahoma may now establish and maintain a domestic violence court program. The court will consolidate cases that arise in the context of a domestic violence incident.

A “domestic violence court” is a specialized judicial process for domestic matters both civil and criminal in nature that arise out of the same family or domestic circumstance. The presiding judge of a district or municipal court of record may appoint an individual judge to preside over related criminal, family, and matrimonial matters that arise in the context of domestic violence. Criminal domestic violence charges, protective orders, and any actions for divorce, separate maintenance, guardianship, adoption, or any other proceeding involving custody or visitation between the same parties may be presented to the domestic violence court.

The Administrative Office of the Courts may promulgate rules, procedures, and forms necessary to implement a domestic violence court to ensure statewide uniformity.

This sounds like a good idea. What’s happening now (or at least before any domestic violence courts get created) is that the civil case(s) is/are held in one courtroom, and the criminal case is held in another. If there are two civil cases–a victim protective order and modification of visitation rights for example–then those will initially begin in two courtrooms. The VPO will then be transferred over to the other “family law” case, and each appearance will be held together.

What it looks like will happen after the establishment of a domestic violence court is that every case arising out of a domestic violence matter will be held in one courtroom. It’s very common for a VPO to be filed after an event of domestic violence. If criminal charges are filed, then there will be a separate criminal case. The VPO case will continue and nothing will typically be done in it until the criminal case is complete. This requires appearing in two different courtrooms and, typically, at two different times. Consolidating the cases into one courtroom will save a lot of unnecessary court appearances. An attorney might have to appear a handful, or more, times in the VPO case just to say that the criminal case is still pending and get a new date. Also, the judges in domestic violence court will have a better idea of exactly what’s going on in all the cases. Finally, it will be helpful to know where each case will be held at the outset. It’s frustrating to show up on the first court date (typically on a VPO case) just to process the paperwork to move it to the family law court.

HB 1121 created 22 O.S. § 61. It went into effect on November 1, 2017.

Sources: HB 112122 O.S. § 61

Do you need an Oklahoma Domestic Violence attorney?

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