Man arrested, facing life in prison in St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case

A St. Johns County man was arrested this week, the same day a child under the age of 12 told police they were molested by the man.  Detectives interviewed the suspect the same day and then arrested him, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man is now charged with two counts of capital sexual battery on a person under the age of 12. Both counts have a mandatory sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. So, unless the state ends up reducing the charges as part of a plea agreement, the man can only face life in prison if he pleads guilty to or is convicted of either count in this St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case.

On this serious of a St. Johns County Sex Crimes charge, there is less discretion for the prosecutors compared with other crimes. For example, in cases with a minimum mandatory sentence, the minimum mandatory piece does not come into play until the state files it with the court. So, for example, the state can negotiate a 10-year prison sentence on a case that has a 20-year minimum mandatory sentence, as long as the plea is completed before the case goes to trial. Once a case with a minimum mandatory sentence goes to trial, the judge has no choice but to impose the sentence. So even if the judge would want to issue a three-year sentence, if the minimum mandatory is 20, then 20 years is the minimum.  But, in this St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case, the charge would have to be reduced to something such as attempted sexual battery for the sentence to be anything less than life. The charge would then be a first-degree felony, which has a maximum sentence of 30 years in state prison.

In this St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case, though, it might not make too much of a difference. The defendant in this case is 55, so if he ended up pleading to a lesser charge and getting a 30-year sentence, he’d still be spending most of the rest of his life behind bars. The procedure is similar to St. Johns County Murder Cases. If a person is charged with first-degree murder, he or she can only be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty. That’s while you’ll see many defendants work on a plea to second-degree murder. They may still get a life sentence, but it is not required by law, and for many defendants it is worth the risk over taking the case to trial where the only options are life in prison and death.  Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney represents people charges with all types of crimes, and can explain to you or your loved one the details of which charges carry which sentences so you can make the best decision going forward.

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 Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.