How An Application to Accelerate Applies To Deferred Sentences
In Oklahoma, an application to accelerate may be filed if you have been handed a deferred sentence and are still within the prescribed time period of the deferral. A deferred sentence can be returned as part of a plea agreement after a plea of guilty or no contest to a charge. In a deferred sentence, the judge sets a sentence, but does not officially enter the judgment. This means the sentence is not actually served, provided conditions are met.
The conditions of a deferred sentence are court imposed, and can include community service, community supervision, and payment of court costs, among others. After the probationary period lapses, the plea can be withdrawn, the charges dismissed and the court record expunged.
An application to accelerate may be filed at any time during the deferred sentence time. If you commit another crime or violate the provisions of the deferred sentence, the state may file the application asking the court to impose the sentence you were originally given, but did not actually serve.
Your Right To A Hearing
If you are served with an application to accelerate sentencing in Oklahoma, you have a right to due process of law. That means you have a right to an attorney and a right to a hearing. The process starts when prosecutor files a petition asking the court to impose sentencing and setting out the reasons for the request. A hearing will be set in front of a court, where both you and the prosecutor will be allowed to present your respective evidence and arguments.
Unlike a regular case where the conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, a hearing on a technical violation only requires a preponderance of evidence. This is a much easier standard for the prosecutor to meet.
If the violation is smaller, known as a technical violation, your attorney may easily work out an agreement with the prosecutor. Minor violations typically include failing to keep up court ordered payments or missing an appointment with a probation office. Failed drug tests can also trigger an application to accelerate.
In the event you are behind in court ordered payments, your attorney may seek time to let you get caught up. If you missed a probation appointment or failed a drug test, an attorney appearing at your side in court can demonstrate your commitment to fulfilling terms of the deferred sentence. Your attorney might advise the court you are participating in drug rehabilitation or attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. An attorney might be better able to tell the court why you missed an appointment with the probation office.
What to Expect in Court
At a hearing on an Oklahoma application to accelerate, you can anticipate the judge might directly ask you questions. An attorney can advise you how to best prepare for a judge’s questions. When you appear with an attorney, your lawyer can offer explanations and direct the courts attention to what matters, while avoiding the sometimes rambling or ineffectual excuses defendants might otherwise provide a court.
Even if your attorney cannot work out an agreement to withdraw the application to accelerate, negotiations might persuade the prosecution to seek a suspended sentence rather than ask for your immediate incarceration. A suspended sentence is similar to a deferred sentence, but with a suspended sentence the court finds a defendant guilty. The criminal conviction becomes a matter of record, but the court suspends imposition of the sentence until a later date, pending successful completion of court imposed probationary terms.
In a case where you have picked up a subsequent charge, things may be a bit more complicated. Often, an attorney can work out an agreement on both charges so that the application to accelerate is withdrawn and prosecutors agree to a resolution on the new charge.
In any case, an Oklahoma attorney can often make the difference between incarceration or freedom under court ordered supervision if your deferred sentence is hanging by a thread after prosecutors file an application to accelerate sentencing in Oklahoma. Failure to fight an application to accelerate in Oklahoma can mean the difference between a criminal conviction and a clean criminal record.
When you are facing possible imposition of a deferred sentence, protect your freedom, your criminal record and your peace of mind by contacting a Tulsa attorney for a free consultation about your best options.
Consult With A Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are subject to an application to accelerate proceeding, you should speak to a Tulsa criminal defense attorney to find out your options. For a free and confidential consultation, call the Fifth Street Tulsa Law Firm at (918) 932-2777.