Originally sentenced to 33 years in "road rage" crashes, woman now agrees to house arrest and probation in plea deal
After her first conviction was overturned in May, negating her 33-year sentence, the state opted to offer a plea deal to a woman accused of injuring several people in what St. Johns County police described as road rage crashes. In some cases, an overturned conviction means a new trial. In this St. Johns County Felony Case, the state opted for a plea that was far better than the original sentence, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The woman is accused of driving into a bicyclist and into a St. Johns County police car, then driving at another officer who was on foot. She also is accused of hitting a person driving a scooter and then a truck and another vehicle, the newspaper reported.
In all, she was charged with 14 felonies: six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, aggravated attempt to elude causing serious injury and resisting arrest with violence. The first trial was a bench trial - simply in front of a judge, not a jury of her peers. An appellate court threw out the conviction, saying the woman was entitled to have a trial in front of her peers and she likely did not understand the full consequences of allowing her attorney to waive that right. The main issue at the trial was whether or not the defendant was mentally ill at the time of the incident in this St. Johns County Felony Case. There were conflicting reports from doctors, the newspaper reported, and the judge did not feel she was in fact insane at the time of the crashes. The main difference in a jury trial is there are more people involved in the decision. In this St, Johns County Traffic case, there would have been a panel of six jurors. Any decision must be unanimous, so it would only take one person to disagree and prevent a conviction. Given the state's decision following the case being overturned, it brings up the question of whether or not the state would have even gone to trial in front of a jury the first time.
Now, the defendant is sentenced to just two years of house arrest and 10 years of probation - a far cry from the 33-year prison sentence she received the first time around.
From a procedure standpoint, there are a variety of avenues that must be considered in a St. Johns County Felony Crimes Case. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney has represented thousands of people and will suggest different strategies so you and your loved one can make the best decision in your case.
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 St. Johns County Felony Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.