Search Engine Blog Blog Search Engine Yahoo Verification Oklahoma Criminal Defense: September 2008

Tulsa's Alternative Courts: Tulsa Drug Court, Tulsa DUI Court, Tulsa Mental Health Court, Tulsa Community Sentencing Court, Tulsa AAP Court

About Tulsa Drug Court, Tulsa DUI Court, Tulsa Mental Health Court, Tulsa Community Sentencing Court, Tulsa Accelerated Accountability Procedure (AAP) Court by Glen R. Graham, Web Page
Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney, Director Best Lawyers of Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Phone: (918) 583-4621 or email
Application to Tulsa Drug Court and Tulsa Mental Health Court posted at

Over the years, the court system in Tulsa County has evolved and adapted to changing times and circumstances. Historically, Oklahoma has had a high rate of incarceration. In 2006, Oklahoma lead the nation in the rate of incarceration for female offenders. In response to public and political pressure and budgetary issues, the Oklahoma court system has evolved and developed alternative sentencing procedures and alternative courts to handle alternatives to incarceration.

The costs of incarceration versus the costs of alternatives to incarceration are significant enough to cause people to consider alternatives to building expensive prisons. Some people began searching for alternatives to incarceration even though the prison industrial complex offers financial incentives for private prisons and financial incentives for certain depressed areas.

As technology continues to advance, other alternatives to incarceration have begun to appear and to be in use in some of the alternative court programs in Tulsa County. The DUI-Drug court routinely requires either a scram (which is worn like an ankle bracelet and continuously measures perspiration for alcohol) or a telephone sobrietor monitoring system (which is attached to the telephone and when the person breathes into the machine it sends a signal as to the results). Also, there is often a requirement that an inter-lock alcohol breath testing device be installed in any vehicle in which the participant may operate. A global position monitoring system (GPS) is also available in appropriate cases. The technological progress and advancements are continuing to provide a multitude of less expensive means of supervising people without expensive prison costs.

It is only a matter of time until someone develops mobile electronic drug testing devices. See research at They could would work on the same or similar principles to the scram or telephone sobrietor and car interlock testing devices.

The Tulsa DUI court and the Tulsa Drug court, basically run along the same basic model. It is limited to felony offenses, and normally repeat offenders or offenders that may be looking at possible incarceration and the alternative court is an alternative to incarceration. It is a “treatment” approach whereby the offender if they qualify and if the prosecutor agrees, can obtain treatment under strict guidelines and close court supervision. It is a four or five stage process. Initially, the offender is required to attend 3-4 AA or NA meetings per week, random UA’s, a counseling session, and make one court appearance per week for review before the Judge. After several weeks the offender will progress to the next stage and so on. Upon completion of the program at the end of about 18 months, then the offender is placed on probation and will see a probation officer for a period of time. It is not unusual for an offender to relapse and to require inpatient treatment several times. The Drug court and DUI court is a treatment oriented program and relapse and treatment are typical. After about 18 months, if the offender is unable to complete the program, there may be a motion to terminate filed by the prosecutor seeking to incarcerate the offender for failing to comply. A hearing may be held where the court will take testimony and make a decision about whether to terminate, incarcerate, or pass sentencing one more time for the offender to complete the program. At some point, which is usually after about 18-36 months, the offender will run out of time to complete the program.

The Tulsa County mental health court for criminal offenses is a new program and one of the first in the nation and the funding is severely limited at this time, so that means there may be a limited number of openings and that some people may be turned down. There may be some people that are on the borderline or that are marginally qualified but they may be turned down because of a limited number of openings and severe funding limitations.

The Tulsa County mental health court for criminal offenses is for non-violent offenders who suffer from some kind of severe mental illness. It is modeled along the same lines as the drug-dui court. The offender must have a non-violent offense and a non-violent background to qualify. The District Attorney makes the initial determination if the offender will be considered acceptable for the “mental health court.” The offender will be subject to an initial mental health assessment by the court approved assessor. If the offender does not qualify, the court may reject the offender. If the offender qualifies, then the offender has a treatment provider and a counselor and is required to make regular court appearances.

The Tulsa Community Sentencing Court which is also called the Tulsa Accelerated Accountability Procedure Court (AAP) offers an alternative for non-violent offenders to expedite their case through the court system. The offender is typically a non-violent offender and the prosecutor will review the case to see if the offender qualifies for admission into the AAP court.

The offender will be required to complete a Level of Services Inventory (LSI) which is an assessment to determine what the needs of the offender are and what level of services may be required. If the offender qualifies in the moderate range which is a point system, then the offender may qualify to be approved for a community sentence. A community sentence is probation with a community sentencing officer as the probation officer. The community sentencing officer is supposed to help the offender find the services in the community and to supervise the offender. If the offender relapses or violates the community sentencing rules, the offender may be “sanctioned” by requiring treatment or about 10 days in jail. If the offender continues to violate the rules or has a serious rule violation such as a new offense, then the offender faces the possibility of the revocation of the probation and the possibility of being sentenced to prison. A community sentence is better than regular probation in that like it sounds is an alternative to prison and attempts to find services in the community to meet the needs of the offender instead of prison.

If the offender scores in the high point range on the Level of Service Inventory (LSI) then the offender may be placed on probation through the Department of Corrections but the offender will not be on a community sentence. The supervision by the Department of Corrections is more law enforcement oriented and less community sentencing oriented. Some would analogize it to being on probation with a law enforcement supervisor instead of a community sentencing –social-psychologist –type supervisor. A community sentence probation can be better for the offender and for society in the long run because of the attempts to achieve real change and the attempts to find help for the offender in the community. Unfortunately, for some reason, some offenders fail to take advantage of all of the services and all of the help that is offered by a community sentence. In theory, if the offender qualifies, some of the services may be subsidized and the offender would not have to pay for everything themselves (in theory).

By Glen R. Graham, Tulsa Criminal Defense Lawyer, my email Web Page

Prior Juvenile Convictions Without a Jury Trial Questioned

The "injustice anywhere" blogger has returned to blogging from the Washington public defenders office and she presents some interesting arguments from a trial lawyer's perceptive, ground level, of practical experiences in the court system. Interesting blog about the importance of a jury trial which can result in a not guilty verdict. She questions some juvenile convictions where the juvenile did not have a right to a jury trial and where some prosecutors and courts may attempt to use the prior conviction against them even though they did not have an effective right to a jury trial in the case. Good point. See: Injustice Anywhere . . .: Why Just Having the Right to a Jury Trial Matters

I agree with her argument.

Practical Advice for Anyone Accused of a Crime

Practical Advice for Anyone Accused of a Crime
By Glen R. Graham, Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney
(918) 583-4621
Some people would assume that everyone knows these things and that they are common sense. But, when a person is under stress and not thinking too clearly, they might not do the things that they should to protect their rights to a fair trial.

The first thing anyone accused of a crime should do is consult with a knowledgeable attorney.

I would tell you to keep your mouth shut and not to discuss your case with anyone because they can become a witness against you --- even involuntarily --- if the prosecutor subpoena’s them to testify. Do not bring your family into my office to discuss the facts of your case in their presence because they may become subject to an involuntary subpoena by the prosecutor at a later time.

Do not voluntarily give any statements to any police officers, law enforcement officers, government agents, neighbors, jail house inmates, guards, or anyone else. Your lawyer is the only person you should talk to about your case. Be extremely careful.

I would tell you that all telephone calls from the jail are recorded and that all letters and correspondence in and out of the jail is xeroxed and copies made and saved for use against the defendant at trial.

I would tell you that if you are charged with an Oklahoma DUI or APC or drunk driving offense that you have only 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing to attempt to save your driver’s license and that this is also a way for a lawyer to hear the testimony of the witness, by requesting a timely administrative hearing within 15 days of the date of arrest.

I would advise you that if there are any video tapes of the incident that you only have a limited amount of time to request a copy of the same if they are at a private business and that these tapes are not normally saved forever. The same is true of cell phone records, there may be time limits involved, and so do it immediately.

I would advise you that you could consider having an independent blood, hair, urine test performed for drugs. Some tests (hair) are considered accurate for up to 90 days or longer and some are accurate for very, very short periods of time - like urine tests.

I would advise you that witnesses have a way of disappearing, especially if they are defense witnesses. For some reason, defense witnesses tend to decide not to testify or to change their testimony.
The best thing to do is to consider having the witness write out a brief statement of what they saw and have them sign it to commit them to one story.

Sometimes, it is a good idea to have your lawyer hire a private investigator. However, each case is different and this may not be necessary. Some private investigators are former police officers and some may feel pressure to do their jobs in an efficient manner consistent with justice. Each case is different and hiring a private investigator is something that should be carefully considered. There is a stronger argument for work-product privilege if the attorney hires the investigator instead of the defendant. To be safe, it is always best to have the attorney hire any private investigator to be sure that all work is privileged.

Do not dress like a “person who committed the crime” when you appear in court. If you are accused of drug dealing, do not dress like a drug dealer. If you are accused of any other type of crime, do not dress like a person who would commit that type of crime.

In the really big cases, assume that your telephone calls are being recorded. Police have been known to obtain a court order allowing them to place a bug in the home, business, or on the telephone. Cell phone records can be obtained which will show what phone numbers were called and the location of the nearest cell phone tower. Some police have been known to place a global position system (GPS) monitor on to the motor vehicle of the defendant and then to track their movements with a lap top computer. Some mount with a magnet. They are sold online.

Your computer and your email--- are records --- and may tell on you. Do not write anything that can be used against you. Do not use search engines for terms that could be interpreted as implicating you in a crime.

Assume the worst, and prepare for the best. Gather the names and addresses of any witnesses. Talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about what actions to take to protect your rights to a fair trial.

Fair trials do not magically just happen. You will have to work to obtain a fair trial. We have an adversary system. It is the state or government versus fellow human being - you. You should hire the best, most experienced, criminal defense lawyer in your area to protect your right to a fair trial. Consider hiring your own private lie detector expert to administer a private lie detector test. Although they are not admissible in evidence, you might consider using it, if you pass, to push the prosecutor to drop charges in a weak case. Never agree to a lie detector administered at the request of the state without prior agreement of your lawyer. You should want your lawyer present for any test. Some lie detector tests are used to obtain confessions or to discredit your story. Example: Have you ever lied about anything? Have you ever taken anything without permission? So, you are a liar and and thief, right? "No" - you say. You might be human, but that is not what they asked you.

Yours in the Defense of Fellow Human Beings,

Glen R. Graham, Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney, Tulsa, Oklahoma
(918) 583-4621 Email: