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Applications to Revoke in Oklahoma Explained by Tulsa Criminal Lawyer Kevin Adams

An "Application to Revoke" is the process in the Oklahoma criminal justice system in which the prosecution ask the sentencing judge to revoke the "suspended sentence" of a defendant and send that defendant to jail or prison. A suspended sentence is a conviction, but a conviction in which the sentence of jail or prison is "suspended". When a judge sentences a defendant to a "suspended sentence" the judge is sentencing the defendant to prison or jail, but suspending the sentence as long as the defendant complies with the conditions of probation. A defendant who is facing a suspended sentence does not have the same rights as a defendant accused of a crime. However, there are some procedural protections for a defendant facing an application to revoke. This page was written to provide basic information concerning revocation of suspended sentences.

What is a Suspended Sentencing on Oklahoma?

"It has long been considered that a suspended sentence, imposed by the trial court, is an act of judicial grace." (See Gore v. State, 482 P.3d 953 (1971). In short a suspended sentence allows the Court to convict the defendant of the offense, but not sentence the defendant to jail or prison as long as they comply with the conditions of probation.

A judge has many options in crafting the conditions of probation. The powers of a judge in setting rules of probation for a suspended sentence can be found at Title 22 O.S. Section 991a. Typical conditions of probation in Oklahoma include the following:

Every defendant is given a written copy of their conditions of probation and should read them carefully. As long as a defendant complies with the conditions of probation they will never have to serve the sentence. If the state believes they have not complied with the conditions, than the state can file an application to revoke as described below.

What is an application to revoke in Oklahoma?

In short the application to revoke is a pleading filed by the district attorney alleging that a defendant failed to meet the conditions of his or her probation and asking the court to revoke that probation. The statutory authority for an application to revoke can be found at Title 22 O.S. Section 991b of the Oklahoma statutes and provides:

Whenever a sentence has been suspended by the court after conviction of a person for any crime, the suspended sentence of the person may not be revoked, in whole or part, for any cause unless a petition setting forth the grounds for such revocation is filed by the district attorney with the clerk of the sentencing court and competent evidence justifying the revocation of the suspended sentence is presented to the court at a hearing to be held for that purpose within twenty (20) days after the entry of the plea of not guilty to the petition, unless waived by both the state and the defendant.

What is the procedure used to revoke a suspended sentence in Oklahoma?

The district attorney files an Application to Revoke alleging that the defendant has failed to comply with one or more conditions of probation. The application is given to the sentencing judge (or the judge assigned to that docket) and after reading the application the judge believes that the state has properly alleged a violation of the conditions of probation than the judge issues an "Order Re Application to Revoke Suspended Sentence".

After the judge issues that order a bench warrant will be issued. That warrant will show up on the docket sheet in red. Once the defendant is arrested he or she will appear for an arraignment of the application to revoke. The defendant can typically bond on an application to revoke, just as they bonded on the original charges. The defendant will either have to hire a lawyer or fill out a "Pauper's Affidavit" for the appointment of a public defender. A hearing will be set on the application to revoke within 20 days, unless both the defendant and the state waive the 20 day rule. The hearing is an evidentiary hearing, but the rules of evidence and the procedural protections are different from when the defendant was originally charged. In short it is much easier for the district attorney to send a defendant to jail or prison on an application to revoke than on the original charges.

What rights does a defendant facing an application to revoke have in Oklahoma?

What will happen to a defendant facing an application to revoke?

It depends. In many counties first time minor violations of probation such as failure to pay fines, costs, and do work hours can be worked out without the defendant going to prison. Other violations such as failure to report for supervision and convictions of new crimes typically result in revocation of the probation in whole or in part.

Practical advise for a defendant facing an application to revoke in Oklahoma

The best advice a lawyer can give a defendant on probation is to avoid an application to revoke to begin with. When judges tell defendants that they must do certain things as a condition of probation, they mean it. Those on probation would be well served to sign up and begin work hours immediately, to pay their fines and costs before paying any other bills, to make sure they keep all their appointments with their probation officer, and to change the behavior that caused them to be in trouble to begin with.

However, if a defendant is facing an application to revoke there are a few things to keep in mind.


Kevin D Adams, Attorney at Law
417 West 7th Street, Suite 202 Tulsa, Oklahoma 74119
Phone: 918 582 1313