Initially Arrested for Murder, Woman Gets Deferred Sentence

A woman who was originally arrested for murder after running over a man in her pickup later had the charged reduced to leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Maria Guadalupe Rodriguez, 27, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. She was given a 10-year deferred sentence last week as a result. Ten years is the longest deferred sentence that may be given. In the incident, Rodriguez had been drinking and dancing with a man, Delgado Jose Uriel Ontiveros, 25. She says that when she attempted to leave, Ontiveros would not let her go, holding her against her will for more than an hour. When she was eventually able to leave, she got in a pickup to drive away, but Ontiveros grabbed onto the truck and trying to open the door. She continued to drive, but Ontiveros hung on before eventually falling off and being run over. Rodriguez did not stop, but drove to a convenience store to call 911 and report that Ontiveros was lying in the street and "looked like he was dead," according to a police report. After an investigation, prosecutors determined that the victim's own actions were the cause of his death, but that Rodriguez committed a crime in leaving the scene of an accident. She was charged with the lesser offense in July 2012. Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death is a violation of 47 O.S. 10-102.1: A. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of Section 10-104 of this title. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. B. Any person willfully, maliciously, or feloniously failing to stop to avoid detection or prosecution, or to comply with said requirements under such circumstances, shall upon conviction be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years, or by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment. C. The Commissioner of Public Safety shall revoke the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege of the person so convicted. Although the felony is punishable by a prison sentence of one to 10 years, prosecutors recommended a 5 year suspended sentence. A suspended sentence is a felony conviction, but the defendant is allowed to complete probation instead of serving prison time. If the defendant violates his or her probation, the district attorney may file a motion to revoke the suspended sentence, and the defendant will spend the remainder of his or her sentence in prison. Instead of a suspended sentence, however, the judge gave Rodriguez a deferred sentence. Although the probationary term will be twice as long as recommended by prosecutors, a deferred sentence is not a criminal conviction. At the end of the probationary term, if the defendant has not violated probation, the court records will be updated to reflect a plea of "Not Guilty," and the judge will dismiss the case. A deferred sentence is eligible for record expungement under 22 O.S. 991c. If, however, the defendant violates probation, the district attorney may file a motion to accelerate sentencing. At this time, the judge may accept the guilty plea, resulting in conviction, and render a sentence. In the revocation of a suspended sentence, the defendant serves the remainder the term which has already been sentenced. In the acceleration of sentencing in a deferred sentence, no sentence has actually been made previously, so the defendant may be ordered to serve the entire maximum allowable sentence.

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