Subhan Khurram pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI manslaughter after he drove his vehicle the wrong way down I-95 in 2015. The crash killed Frans Roy McCatty, 50, and Ricardo Franklyn Fletcher, 33. Khurram, who is unable to read or write due to developmental disabilities, attempted to express his remorse before the court but was unable to read from a prepared statement. So he stumbled through his mea culpa in an attempt to show the court that he was changed by the events of that day.
As a result, the judge sentenced Khurram to four years for each death, which is a vast departure from minimum sentencing guidelines in the State of Florida. He will also face eight years probation after he’s released with a minimum of two on an ankle monitor.
In this case, the judge invoked his right to diverge from established minimum sentencing guidelines. Below, we’ll discuss how that works and what it means.
Understanding DUI Manslaughter
In Florida, if you get behind the wheel of a car while you’re intoxicated and this results in someone else’s death, you will go to prison. In fact, the mandatory minimum sentence for DUI manslaughter is 124½ months or over ten years and three months. The maximum sentence for DUI manslaughter is 15 years in prison.
However, a judge is allowed to consider aggravating or mitigating factors in the defendant’s case and opt for a downward departure sentence. In other words, they can sentence you to less time than the statutory minimum. Even those who do qualify for a downward departure sentence will face a mandatory minimum of four years for each count.
How does that work? Well, your attorney would need to show that there are some mitigating circumstances that should be considered when your sentence is handed down. But aggravating factors are also considered. For instance, those with prior DUIs are very unlikely to qualify for a downward departure sentence.
In Khurram’s case, two doctors testified that Khurram suffered from a neuro-cognitive issue that limited his ability to understand the proceedings but that he was, in fact, able to understand the basics. Initially, Khurram was declared incompetent to stand trial.
In giving Khurram the statutory minimum for a downward departure sentence, the judge acknowledged that Khurram was of diminished capacity. However, he also noted that Khurram ended the lives of two people and destroyed two families. While Khurram may not have a very high IQ, he was found at the scene to have a blood alcohol concentration of .191 which is more than three times the legal limit.
Talk to a West Palm Beach DUI Attorney Today
If you’ve been pulled over while under the influence or caused an accident while driving drunk, then you need an attorney who understands the law and how it is applied. Talk to the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. today and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.