Former Miami Beach police officer Derek Kuilan, who was convicted of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, was sentenced to 18 months in Florida State prison this morning by Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Marisa Tinkler-Mendez. The former police officer was convicted of a felony reckless driving charge after trial a month ago, but was acquitted of DUI causing serious bodily injury.
Kuilan was adjudicated guilty and will now be a convicted felon. After he serves his 18 months in state prison (with all credit for the time he’s served in county jail), Kuilan will serve one year of community control followed by two years of reporting probation. As conditions of community control and probation, Kuilan must complete DUI school and one session of the Victim Impact Panel. He must complete 200 community service hours, 30 of which must include speaking to incoming police academy cadets about the dangers of poor decision-making. Kuilan will lose his driver’s license for 3 years following his release from prison. The judge did indicate that he can apply for a hardship license that will permit him to drive for limited purposes.
As far as restitution goes, the Judge ordered Kuilan to make restitution in the amount of over $5.6 million. This amount takes into consideration the long-term pain and suffering of the victims, as well as their inability to work due to the injuries sustained as a result of Kuilan’s actions. I am not sure what is happening with this matter in the civil arena but this criminal restitution may be offset by anything he pays as a result of a civil judgment.
The Judge acknowledged that Kuilan will probably not be able to pay this amount while on probation (if ever), therefore any remaining restitution will be converted to a criminal order (civil lien) upon completion of probation. Kuilan must also pay court costs and costs of prosecution. The Judge further ordered that Kuilan pay restitution in the minimum amount of $100 per month per victim.
Given the facts of the case, the high-profile nature of the trial, and the aggravating and mitigating factors, I believe that the Judge fairly sentenced Mr. Kuilan. The Judge could have sentenced him to 5 years in state prison. The prosecutor asked the Judge to sentence Kuilan to 3 years in prison. The defense attorney asked for 90 days county jail followed by probation.
Eric Matheny is a Miami reckless driving defense attorney and Broward reckless driving attorney.