Headlining the domestic violence bill package is Senate Bill 1103, which cracks down on offenders of assault and battery with intent to cause great bodily harm by strangulation or attempted strangulation. According to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, strangulation victims are 750 percent more likely to be killed than victims who have never been strangled.
SB 1103 increases the penalties associated with strangulation or attempted strangulation by removing the mandatory minimum sentence of one year for a person found to have committed these crimes and increases the maximum term of imprisonment to 10 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC). Additionally, the measure increases the maximum fine from $3,000 to $5,000. Similarly, SB 1103 removes the minimum sentence of 3 years for a second offense, but increases the maximum sentence from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment.
“Strangulation is a gateway offense that can lead to grim outcomes for victims,” Standridge said. “National research says women who are the victims of homicide or attempted homicide are far more likely to have a history of being strangled, compared to abused women with no history of strangulation. There is no ‘pass’ when it comes to strangulation and I’m working to ensure we hold offenders accountable.”
Standridge paired the strangulation bill with three additional domestic violence bills to further protect victims and increase the penalty associated with domestic assault and battery.
SB 1105 adds domestic assault and battery that results in great bodily injury to the list of 85 percent crimes, meaning a person convicted of this offense must serve 85 percent of his or her sentence before receiving consideration for parole. Additionally, the measure removes a provision requiring a person convicted on this charge to be sentenced up to one year in a county jail. A person convicted of this crime shall be sentenced up to 10 years in prison. Finally, SB 1105 defines domestic assault and battery that results in great bodily injury to the victim as a violent crime.
SB 1104 adds the crime of domestic assault and battery against a known pregnant woman resulting in miscarriage to the list of 85 percent crimes.
SB 1102 authorizes district attorneys to refer persons accused of domestic abuse or assault to a deferred prosecution program. This would require the accused to attend a batterers’ intervention program certified by the Attorney General or other certified treatment program as currently required for defendants with suspended or deferred sentences for the same or similar offenses. The accused would be required to participate in the counseling or treatment for a minimum of 90 days and could not reside with or be in contact with the victim or his or her family.
“We must send the message that domestic assault will not be tolerated in Oklahoma,” Standridge said. “We must do a better job to protect the victims of these crimes and hold those who commit them accountable for their actions.”
Standridge will host an open town hall meeting on Dec. 9 to address domestic violence issues in Oklahoma, discuss his proposed legislation and give an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the upcoming legislative session. The town hall will be hosted from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Redbud Room at the Norman Public Library, 103 W. Acres Street.