Phone no: (580) 332-5579

Criminal Defense

The attorneys of the Law Offices of James R. Neal, PLLC have trial experience defending many types of criminal charges, from misdemeanors to murder charges.  When you hire our attorneys to represent you, you can expect a thorough examination of the factual and legal issues of your case as well as zealous representation in the courtroom.  We understand that being charged with a crime can be a frightening and confusing experience, so we have provided the following information that may be helpful.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs (DUI) & Actual Physical Control (APC)

One of the most common criminal charges our clients face are alcohol-related driving charges.  Oklahoma DUI law prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  If a driver's blood or breath alcohol content is 0.08 or higher, then the State will charge the driver with DUI.  If a driver's blood or breath alcohol content is in excess of 0.15, then the State will charge the driver with Aggravated DUI.  Actual Physical Control (APC) is a criminal charge that occurs when an intoxicated person is not driving a vehicle, but has actual, physical control over the vehicle.

There are numerous ways to defend against a DUI or APC.  You should expect the attorney to ask detailed questions regarding the traffic stop, field sobriety tests, arrest, searches of the vehicle, impounding of the vehicle, and factors concerning the blood or breath test.  All of these factors affect the strength of the State's case against you.  

It is important to understand that in addition to the criminal charges, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) will seek to suspend your license.  You are entitled to an administrative hearing; however, you only have fifteen days from the date you took the State's intoxilyzer test to request an administrative hearing through DPS.  Failure to do so will waive your right to a hearing and cause your driver's license to be suspended! 

Felony Procedure

When a person is charged with a felony in Oklahoma, they can expect the following procedure.  This procedure may vary somewhat from court to court:

  1. Arrest - The defendant is arrested and taken to jail.  Usually within forty-eight hours of arrest, the person will appear in front of a judge for informal arraignment.

  2. Informal Arraignment - At this stage the judge tells the defendant the charges the state has alleged.  Usually bond is set at this stage, although for serious felonies there may be a special bond hearing.

  3. Bond Hearing - The Court will determine whether the defendant is eligible to be released on bail and what amount bond should be set.

  4. Preliminary Hearing Conference - This conference is scheduled to allow the defendant's attorney and the State's attorney to discuss the case and the State will reveal its recommendation for sentencing if the defendant chooses to enter a plea of guilty.

  5. Preliminary Hearing - This is usually the first major hearing in a felony case.  The State must prove that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a crime.  This hearing is conducted in front of a judge only; there is no jury.  If the Court finds that there is probable cause to continue the case, then the defendant is "bound over for trial."

  6. Evidentiary Hearings - The defendant's attorney may specially set hearings to suppress certain evidence or to dismiss certain charges.  These hearings are presented to a judge who determines whether the evidence should be admitted into the case against the defendant.

  7. Formal Arraignment - For the majority of defendants, this marks the final hearing in their case.  Most cases are either dismissed or settled at formal arraignment.  The cases that proceed past this point generally go on to trial.

  8. Trial - In a felony case a defendant has the right to a trial by jury.  The defendant can choose to waive this right and try the case to the judge.