Incarceration is never fun. You visit and feel badly for your friend. When he asks for a favor, you would like to help out. But there are better ways to help a friend in jail in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Carrying drugs or alcohol into a jail for a friend can land you in behind bars, and add years of prison time to your friend’s sentence if he or she is caught with it.
It is important that you know what you can and cannot bring into a jail in Oklahoma.
Carrying Drugs or Alcohol into a Jail: The Law
Oklahoma law makes it illegal to bring any of the following items into any place where prisoners are located: gun, knife, bomb, dangerous instrument, controlled dangerous substance (drugs), intoxicating beverage, money, or financial document for anyone besides the inmate or the inmate’s spouse. Okla. Stat. tit. 57 § 21
That means that you cannot bring any of these items into a jail, a state penal institution, or any other place where prisoners might be held.
Although it might seem trivial to bring a beer in for a friend, it is a felony to do so in Oklahoma. The crime is punishable by one to five years in prison, a fine between $100 to $1,000, or both.
If an inmate is found to be in possession of any item of prohibited contraband, he or she may also be found guilty of a felony. For that person, the consequences are more serious — 5 to 20 years in prison.
Multiple violations by an inmate mean increasing prison time, leading to a prison term of at least 20 years. That time is added onto the time your friend is already serving.
Elements of the Crime
In order to secure a conviction, a prosecutor must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If any element is unproven, there is no conviction.
These are the elements of this crime:
- without authority
- bringing in or having possession of
- a gun, knife, bomb, any dangerous instrument, any controlled dangerous substance (drugs), alcoholic beverage, or money
- into a jail, prison, or other places where prisoners are located.
Any facts that can be used to disprove any of these elements constitutes a possible defense to be explored with your attorney.
In addition, carrying any sort of cell phone or another electronic device that is capable of sending or receiving messages or calls into a jail is a felony in Oklahoma. If you get caught bringing in a cell phone for a friend, you could be sentenced up to two years in prison, pay a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Here is an interesting way this crime may occur. Say your friend asks you to deliver contraband and you agree. You arrange to have a drone drop the contraband into the prison yard at a time when your friend is outside.
Have you committed a crime? You didn’t bring in the contraband, but you did arrange for the contraband to be delivered. So, maybe.
How Other Items are Handled
A prison employee who has a valid handgun license may keep a firearm in a locked metal box secured and contained in a locked car which is parked on property set aside for employee parking, as long as the employee has provided annual notification to the Department of Corrections of the brand name, model, serial number, and owner identification information of the firearm.
The statute treats other types of contraband as misdemeanor violations. Bringing in cigarettes, cigars, snuff, vaping products, or any other tobacco product is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both.
If you have been caught smuggling contraband like this into a jail or have questions about what is allowed, talk to an experienced Stillwater criminal defense attorney right away.
Free Consultation with a Stillwater Lawyer
Wirth Law Office – Stillwater is here to help you when you need it the most.
We offer a free consultation with an experienced Stillwater criminal defense attorney to help you defend your legal rights.
Call 405-673-1600 for a free consultation or submit a question through this website.