Oklahoma Small Claims Court Process

Oklahoma Small Claims Court Process

Last Updated: February 9, 2023 by Ashley Porter

Quick Facts Answer
Small Claim Maximum $10,000
Deadline to File 1 to 5 years
Filing Fees Vary by court
Appeal Deadline 30 days

Small Claims Court Basics in Oklahoma

Small Claims Court is an informal court designed for minor cases limited to a maximum claim amount. The plaintiff and defendant present their case to the judge, who makes a decision, unless either party requests a jury trial.

Common suits filed by landlords include:

  • Recovery of unpaid rent
  • Damages that exceed the amount of the security deposit
  • Failure to uphold the responsibilities of the rental agreement
  • Early termination of a lease

Common suits filed by tenants include:

  • Failure to return the security deposit correctly
  • Failure to uphold the responsibilities of the rental agreement
  • Overcharging for damages

How Long Does the Small Claims Court Process Take in Oklahoma?

A typical small claims case in Oklahoma takes one to two months, from the date of filing, but can be longer if there are problems serving the defendant, the trial is continued, or other delays occur.

How Much Can You Sue For in Small Claims Court in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, the maximum amount that can be recovered through Small Claims Court is $10,000.

To attempt to recover a higher amount, the suit must be filed as a civil case in the District Court.

How Long Do You Have to File a Small Claims Case in Oklahoma?

The time limit for filing a small claims case in Oklahoma depends on the type of case filed:

  • 1 year: Violation of law with a statutory penalty (e.g. failure to place security deposit in an escrow account)
  • 3 years: Violation of an oral lease agreement, violation of law without a statutory penalty (e.g. retaliation)
  • 5 years: Violation of a written lease agreement

Are Lawyers Needed or Allowed in Small Claims Court in Oklahoma?

Small Claims Court is designed to be simple and not require an attorney. However, either party can be represented by an attorney if they so choose.

Where are Small Claims Cases Filed in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, Small Claims Court is a division of District Court. Small claims are filed in the District Court within the county where the rental property is located or where the defendant lives.

To determine the correct District Court, you can use the court map.

How to File a Small Claims Case in Oklahoma

Step 1: Contact the court clerk to obtain a Small Claims Affidavit form and determine the correct filing procedures in your local court.

Step 2: Complete the Affidavit form.

Step 3: File the Affidavit in person or by mail according to the local court rules.

Step 4: Pay the filing fee.

How Much Does it Cost to File a Case in Small Claims Court in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, the filing fee for a small claims case varies by court. Contact your local court clerk for filing fees in your area.

What if You Can’t Afford to File a Case?

You can still file a case if you cannot afford the fees by filing a Pauper’s Affidavit with the court clerk.

Small Claims Court Process in Oklahoma

After filing a small claims case in Oklahoma, the court clerk will schedule a trial no more than 60 days later, and the Affidavit is served on the defendant.

Step 1: Service on the defendant can be completed by process server, certified mail by the court clerk, or sheriff. Service on the defendant must be completed no later than 7 days before the trial or it will be rescheduled.

Step 2: Gather evidence and witnesses. Gather all physical evidence you may have to support your case and ensure that any witnesses are available to attend the trial. For example, you may ask the apartment manager to serve as a witness to how clean you left the apartment after moving out.

You may need to subpoena a witness if you are unable to get them to attend voluntarily by filing and serving the defendant a subpoena.

Step 3: Attend the trial. On the trial date, you should bring copies of any evidence you have to support your claim. The judge will give you and the defendant an opportunity to provide your arguments to the judge and the jury, if requested, before they decide to dismiss the case or issue a judgment.

If the defendant does not attend the trial, the judge will issue you a default judgment.

Winning a Small Claims Judgment in Oklahoma

If you win the judgment in Oklahoma, the other party may appeal the case, you may be paid the judgment within the allotted time period, or you may need to pursue additional actions to recover the debt.

Either party can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court within 30 days after the issuance of the judgment.

When the judge issues the judgment, they will determine a time period for repayment. In the best case, the judgment debtor pays their debt within this period.

If the debtor is delinquent on their payment or refuses to pay, you can recover the debt through bank or wage garnishment or property seizure by first requesting an asset hearing.

You have 5 years to collect or renew a judgment before it expires. A judgment collects interest at a rate based on the prime rate published annually in the Wall Street Journal, which is 9.5% for judgments issued in 2023.