The Phillips & Associates Oklahoma Law Blog


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By Dustin Phillips on
April 8, 2014
December 31, 2019

There probably isn't anyone among us who hasn't done something stupid, something we've immediately regretted. We may blow something out of proportion. We may speak hurtful words out of anger. Maybe we broke something. Maybe we did something spiteful that only served to hurt ourselves in the long run.One Oklahoma City man may be regretting his actions last week after something impulsive and foolish ended up with him behind bars.The wife of Billy Alexander Stephenson, 24, of Oklahoma City, filed for divorce on March 24, but despite their separation, the pair decided to take their children shopping together last Wednesday.According to his wife, the two began arguing, and she decided to take Stephenson home. When they arrived at his home, they continued arguing, so she tried to drive away. Instead, she says, her estranged husband leaned in through an open passenger window to put the car in park. He then allegedly grabbed a bottle of baby shampoo that was lying in the passenger seat and squirted it on his soon-to-be-ex-wife, before throwing the bottle at her. She told police the bottle hit her in the face.Stephenson was arrested on a complaint of domestic assault and battery and transported to the Oklahoma County Jail, where he was booked and released. His wife filed a protective order against him the following day, barring him from contacting her or their children.For many of us, no one can push our buttons like our spouses. Often, when a marriage is falling apart and heading for divorce, tensions run especially high. However, domestic abuse is never okay, and it will never help the abuser to reach a better outcome.Obviously, we don't have all the details in this case. We don't know if the accuser's story is accurate. We don't know if the accused shows a prior pattern of abuse. All we know is that the story sounds like an argument got out of hand--that out of anger, a person is accused of impulsively grabbing the nearest thing and using it against the object of his anger.We've all seen the image of a woman getting angry with a man and dumping a drink on his head. This is similar, only instead of a beer, it was baby shampoo. Instead of stopping with drenching the person, the man went ahead and chucked the bottle at his wife.Stupid, right? But it serves as an important reminder to people to keep their cool, even in the most heated arguments.Domestic abuse is typically a misdemeanor on the first offense, punishable by a maximum of one year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and participation in a year-long domestic abuse treatment program certified by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.Beyond any criminal penalties the defendant may face, having a VPO against him and a domestic violence arrest on his record will not likely do him any favors in his pending divorce proceedings.The best thing he can do for himself is to hire a good lawyer to fight the domestic abuse charge and the VPO, as well as finding a divorce lawyer who can help protect his interests in the aftermath of the accusations of violence.


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