Prosecutors drop felony charge against Jacksonville driver in crash that killed Baker County man

May 10, 2013

More than a year after charging a Jacksonville driver with a felony in the death of a Baker County man on Interstate 10, prosecutors have reduced the charges to misdemeanors. Holly King was initially charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license resulting in a serious injury or death, according to a report on First Coast News. That charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. Now, King's case has been transferred to county court and she is facing a first-degree misdemeanor and a maximum of one year in the county jail.

The reduction is significant for King, because pleading guilty to or being convicted of a felony in Duval County can significantly affect a person's ability to get a job - notwithstanding the amount of prison time she could have been facing. As it turns out, the state should have never even charged here with a felony to begin with in the 2011 fatal crash. King was allegedly speeding on Interstate 10 when she drove up on a car driven by Lauren Annis, the television station reported. King lost control and allegedly hit Annis' car, which flipped, killing Annis' husband Todd, the television station reported. King was initially charged with careless driving, but six months later was charged with the felony in this Jacksonville Traffic Case. The felony is tied to the suspended license. King's license was suspended because she did not pay a traffic fine. According to state law, a license suspension that results from failure to pay a fine cannot be used to upgrade a misdemeanor to a felony.

Now, had King's license been suspended for receiving too many points for various traffic violations, the state would have had a legal basis to charge her with a felony. But, in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, the felony is not applicable. Legally, her license had been suspended three months before the accident that killed Annis and should not have been driving - but that still does not make her crime a felony. Traffic fines and penalties can add up quickly and bring some significant penalties. Tickets are scored on a point system and speeding tickets carry a variety of points. Reckless driving is 4 points. Leaving the scene of an accident is 6 points. As the points build, they can add up to big trouble:

 12 points in a year: 30-day license suspension
 18 points in 18 months: 3-month suspension
 24 points in three years: 1-year suspension

Failure to pay fines can also lead to a license suspension, as it did in King's Jacksonville Traffic Case. Simply paying the fine is admitting guilt and accepting the points - along with the penalties that come with them and the ancillary costs that can include skyrocketing auto insurance rates. An experienced Jacksonville Traffic Attorney can examine your case to see if reducing points or penalties may be an option to pursue.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.