A woman was sentenced last week after her conviction for a fatal DUI in Oklahoma City. Tara Lynn Flores, of Oklahoma City, was sentenced to one year in a private correctional facility for her role in the 2008 death of Sonya Flores-Rabago, 26.
Oklahoma's DUI Laws
According to the charges, Flores, then 23, met Flores-Rabago at a nightclub on October 26, 2008, and offered to give the woman a ride home, even though both women were intoxicated. Around 2:00 a.m., Flores was driving south on Interstate 35 when her car left the road, struck a concrete wall, and came to a stop on the outside southbound lane, where it was struck by another vehicle on the driver's side. Flores-Rabago was thrown from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.
Flores was paralyzed from the waist down. Flores' Oklahoma City DUI defense attorney told the court that her client was remorseful for her actions. Flores received one year in a correctional facility with nine years suspended after her DUI manslaughter conviction. She is expected to receive alcohol rehabilitation while incarcerated.
Under Oklahoma DUI law, a fatal drunk driving accident can be charged a number of ways, depending on the circumstances of the accident. An alcohol related death may be charged as:
- Negligent Homicide - A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail
- Manslaughter - A felony punishable by four years to life in prison
- Second Degree Murder - A felony punishable by ten years to life in prison
If one has been convicted of a DUI within the ten years preceding the fatal accident, it is possible to be charged with Second degree murder, a crime which not only carries a minimum sentence of ten years in prison, but is also subject to the 85% Rule, which means that 85% of the sentence must be served before the convicted person becomes eligible for parole.
DUI Legal Defense Strategies
In light of the possible sentencing for Tara Lynn Flores's crime, a sentence of one year is relatively light. Of course, she must pay for the rest of her life through her paralysis and the loss of her friend, but her criminal penalties were mitigated by the circumstances of the case. If you have been charged with an alcohol-related death, negligent homicide, or DUI manslaughter, turn to an experienced Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer for help.