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Felony Sentencing in Oklahoma Criminal Courts

When a defendant is sentenced after a jury trial in Oklahoma judges almost universally impose the sentence recomended by the jury and if there are multiple counts judges will run those counts consecutively. This is really unfair because we are supposed to have jury sentencing in Oklahoma, yet juries are not even allowed to make a recomendation to the Court concerning whether the sentnces will run concurrent (at the same time) or consecutively (one after the other). I believe that often times jurors are misled believing that they are giving a defendant a lower sentence than they actually are.

All defendants in the state of Oklahoma are entitled to have a Pre-Sentence Investigation Report prepared by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. These are always prepared when there is a plea the involves a PSI recomendation as explained below.

Sentencing can occur immeadiately after a plea or a trial or sentencing can occur in a seperate hearing

When a defendant enters a plea there are different types of agreements the defendant may enter into with the state. Listed below are the types of agreements and what they mean.

Deferred Sentence

When a defendant receives a deferred sentence it means that the defendant enters a plea, the judge excepts the plea but does not find the defendant guilty. Instead the judge defers the sentencing for a period of time upon certain conditions that the defendant must satisfy. If the defendant complies with the terms of deferment on the review date the defendant will be allowed to withdraw his or her plea and any record of a plea will be expunged. A defendant who successfully completes a deferred sentence will not be a convicted felon.

Suspended Sentence

A defendant who receives a suspended sentence is a convicted felon. They are sentenced to a period of time in the Department of Corrections and that sentence is suspended upon their continued good behavior. If the defendant complies with the conditions of probation they will not be incarcerated in the department of corrections.

“2 PSI, 3 PSI, 4 PSI, Etc…”

A common plea agreement is a “___ PSI”. Basically the defense and the state agrees on a number of years 1, 2, 3 etc.. and whether that time is served as a deferred sentence, suspended sentence or incarceration is decided by the judge based upon a pre-sentence investigation report prepared by the Department of Probation and Parole. 

Split Sentence

A split sentence is a sentence that is split between incarceration and probation.

In Time

Sometimes the State and the Defense agree to a plea bargain that involves the defendant being sentenced to the department of corrections for a period of time. This is commonly referred to as “In Time”.

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