Yesterday, I discussed how a 19-year old man accused of DUI manslaughter had entered an open plea to the court and was about to be sentenced. Well, he was.
Yesterday's post dealt with how a young man, who had been accused of killing a pizza delivery man while driving impaired back in 2008, had pushed his case to trial. On the day of trial, however, the young man likely became scared due to the evidence against him and pleaded guilty in court.
There was no plea offer from the State. This was an open plea, meaning that the judge could sentence him as she saw fit.
Under Florida law, the accused faced a 4-year mandatory minimum sentence. Like many states, Florida law requires mandatory day-for-day prison time for somebody convicted of DUI manslaughter.
Sentencing the young man within his guideline range, the judge imposed a 6-year prison sentence.
The Palm Beach Post reported that the yound man's recommended sentencing range was 13 years up to 20 years in prison.
However, in a downward departure, Circuit Judge Karen Miller sentenced the accused to less prison time than what was recommended, finding that the accused's crime was isolated and unsophisticated.
Florida permits a judge to sentence below the guildline range in some instances, provided the judge gives legal reasons in writing as to why they are departing.
The young man's criminal defense attorney acknowledged that the case should have been resolved long ago. However, the young man's father had apparently stood in the way of any negotiated plea settlement.
After he is released from prison, the 19-year old will have to serve 7 years of probation. One of the conditions of probation is that he speak to teens about the perils of drinking and driving.
The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny represents clients in Miami-Dade and Broward. If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, call today for an evaluation of your case.