Swain Law Group
Phone: 405-546-1292
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Norman criminal defense blog

What Oklahomans need to know if medical marijuana is legalized

Next month when Oklahomans go to the polls, one of the measures we'll be voting on is an initiative to make medical marijuana legal. State Question (SQ) 788, if it passes, would add Oklahoma to the majority of states that allow medical and/or recreational marijuana, including our neighbors in Colorado, Arkansas and New Mexico.

If SQ 788 succeeds, Oklahoma residents over 18 who wish to use marijuana legally for medical purposes will need to get an authorization from a physician stating that they have a medical need for it and then get a medical marijuana license. That license is set to be priced at $100 and requires renewal every two years.

How DNA transfer could result in a conviction on murder charges

There is little doubt that advancements in forensics has led to many convictions that may not have occurred without this science. Sometimes, this is a good thing because it takes dangerous individuals out of public populations. However, other times, forensics has led to the wrongful conviction of many people facing murder/homicide charges in Oklahoma.

As criminal defense attorneys, our primary goal is to keep our clients out of prison by uncovering truths. We take this responsibility seriously and make every effort to learn as much as possible about forensics. As you may know, the presence of DNA in murder or homicide charges holds a lot of water with judges and juries. However, the presence of a person's DNA is not always a sure sign that he or she committed a crime.

DUI charges: To accept a plea agreement or not

We field many questions related to DUI charges at our law firm. Questions regarding a proposed plea agreement are usually near the top of the list. A good defense attorney will advise the defendant to look at the reason a prosecutor might offer a plea agreement.

Maybe the prosecutor strongly anticipates a guilty verdict. If that is the case, he or she may suggest a plea deal to reduce the strain on DUI courts and the prosecution's caseload.

What to expect from a suspected drunk driving traffic stop

Oklahoma laws take a strong stance against drunk driving, and a conviction of these types of charges can have a serious impact on your future. Even if it is your first offense, you would be wise to take your situation seriously and pursue a strong defense of your interests.

One of the ways you can defend yourself when facing drunk driving charges is to know whether or not you experienced a violation of your rights during the initial traffic stop. If this happened, it could undermine the entire case against you, and you may be able to move forward with seeking dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. An evaluation of your case can help you understand what options you might have.

What are some viable defenses for drug possession charges?

As all criminal defense attorneys say, anyone arrested on drug charges in Oklahoma should take the matter seriously. Never assume that the charges, warranted or not, will disappear without taking direct action. Oklahoma law enforcement is notoriously strict on drug charges and the state's penalties are stiff.

However, with the right legal guidance, it is very possible to escape a drug conviction or have the charges reduced. When clients and defense attorneys work together honestly and cooperatively, they can come up with a number of viable defenses. Examples of such defenses include the following:

Explaining the difference between first- and second-degree murder

Facing murder/homicide charges is undoubtedly one of the most frightening things an Oklahoma resident can experience. Defendants in these cases have a great many fears, and rightfully so. After all, a successful conviction on any murder charge will have a long-lasting -- if not permanent -- effect on their entire lives.

Overcoming murder/homicide charges is the top goal a defendant has in these cases. Building a defense is the first priority and getting help from a criminal defense attorney is critical. With representation from a lawyer, defendants facing murder charges have access to experience, courtroom strategy, advocacy and much-needed support. When these elements come together, a defendant has the best possible chance of escaping a conviction and continuing to live free.

Take a good look at how Oklahoma deals with marijuana charges

As we have said many times in our blog and on our website, it is extremely unwise to underestimate your situation if arrested on marijuana charges in Oklahoma. Unlike so many other states, Oklahoma remains steadfastly against the legalization of this substance in any form, including medical marijuana.

Even a first conviction on marijuana charges in the state comes with stiff penalties, such as a $10,000 fine or up to one year of incarceration. Any subsequent conviction is a felony and the penalties will be even more severe. The penalties associated with the sale or trafficking of weed are astronomical when compared with states that are more tolerant.

What types of paraphernalia can lead to drug charges in Oklahoma?

While authorities across the nation are gradually changing their view of natural substances like marijuana, Oklahoma persists in charging residents who possess or sell such substances. What many people fail to realize is that possessing items the authorities connect with drug use or distribution can also lead to drug charges in the state.

Because drug paraphernalia is such a broad category, there is a chance you could have something in your possession that you did not even realize was paraphernalia. Further, since many ordinary items might be used to consume, store or distribute illegal substances, it is difficult to find a comprehensive list of illegal paraphernalia. Balloons or plastic bags, for example, could be considered paraphernalia under the right circumstances.

College drinking trends that can impact your future

As an Oklahoma college student, you are likely no stranger to change. From adapting to life away from home to developing good study habits and making it to classes on time, college life is often full of trial and error experiences. Beyond academics, you may also encounter various economic, cultural and social challenges during your life on (or off) campus. For many, alcohol-related issues pose a serious problem.  

Not only do a lot of college students admit to binge drinking, some wind up facing serious legal problems, such as DUI charges. In fact, even a student who merely drinks on occasion can run into difficulties if a police officer pulls him or her over on a drunk driving suspicion. Do you know you rights and where to turn for support if it happens to you? 

DUI charges and court ordered treatment in Oklahoma

When DUI charges lead to conviction, judges in Oklahoma routinely order defendants to complete an alcohol education program. Many people see this as a hardship and perhaps an unfair consequence. After all, those convicted are already paying for their mistake, so why do they have to bother with "DUI School" as well?

While avoiding a conviction on DUI charges is your and your lawyer's primary goal, completing an alcohol program offers benefits that most defense attorneys believe help clients. You might actually need help with alcohol dependency even if you do not yet recognize such a need. Although you did not choose to enter a rehab program voluntarily, evidence suggests that court-ordered enrollment is often as effective as voluntary enrollment.

What Our Clients Say

“Matt Swain helped me out of a situation that would have otherwise cost me money I didn't have, and precious time I couldn't spare. And he did it selflessly. If I ever need to turn to an attorney in the future, he would be my first call. I highly recommend him to anyone in the Norman/OKC area! His entire staff was kind and helpful from day one. Thank you all so much!�—Laura M.

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