House Modifies Bill To Reclassify Numerous Felonies As Misdemeanors
News 6 - April 20, 2022 6:22 am
TULSA, Oklahoma –
The Tulsa Police lieutenant over auto thefts said he’s concerned about a proposed bill that would change several felonies to misdemeanors, including getting caught with a stolen car.
Lt. Chase Calhoun said when officers catch someone in a stolen car, they may not be able to prove the person stole it, but they can arrest them for a felony, unauthorized use of a vehicle. But, that’s one of the felonies that would become a misdemeanor because of some amendments added to SB1223. That would make the max punishment up to 12 months in jail.
“Their punishment ranges from zero to four years. So you have a little more teeth to that so to speak. So our concern is that by amending this to a misdemeanor our auto thefts, our UUMVs are going to go up because realistically it’s a pretty good job if you’re a criminal,” said Lt. Calhoun.
He said his concern is lowering the punishment will lead to more car thefts, at a time when Tulsa is already ranked in the top 20 in the nation for stolen vehicles.
“If someone commits a murder, has gone to prison for armed robbery or something to that effect, gets out and then goes and steals your vehicle and they’re charged and convicted of UUMV, it’s a misdemeanor. So you can’t use their violent history as a sentence enhancement,” said Lt. Calhoun.
SB 1223 originally passed in the Senate as a bill creating misdemeanors for improperly using a service animal, but the bill changed in the house and now includes several amendments making several other crimes misdemeanors as well.
“A lot of different things ranging from unauthorized use of a motor vehicle to cockfighting, to sawed-off shotguns, to just a deceased corpse. Things like that,” said Lt. Calhoun.