It's curious how some judges can look at one person and hand them a 15 year sentence for a crime, and a different judge can look at a similar case with the same charges and dish out 40 years behind bars. Why the disparity? For individuals facing a DUI death conviction, the time on lockdown can vary considerably. Looking back on Florida cases, the sentences and their severity seem to follow the forgiveness or lack of by the victim's family members. It seems that for the convicted, time incarcerated may hinge on the victim's family and their ability to forgive.
Two different cases two different families, one a young woman in her early twenties drives drunk and kills two pedestrians. The families of the victims are angry and unforgiving. The sentence handed out by a Florida judge is a 24 year term in prison. The other is a middle aged man that crashes into a restaurant killing two other people. The family offered their forgiveness in court, and the sentence was set at 10 years behind bars.
A look into the sentencing trends within certain counties of Florida suggests several factors at work when handing down hard time. One of the main considerations for judges is the family's wishes and feelings. While the accident itself and the evidence against the driver always plays a part in sentencing, remorse felt by the driver and the families ability to forgive them may lead to a more sympathetic judge.
The state of Florida has a four year minimum sentencing for DUI deaths. However, if the past has taught us anything, it's that you never know what you're going to get. While remorse is almost always inevitable after a DUI death, having the family forgive is not. And since forgiveness is only part of the equation, having a skilled defense attorney is crucial. With their experience and knowledge, they may be able to help represent you in a light that is favorable to both the family and the judge.