Judge rules woman was mentally competent during St. Johns County road rage episode, finds her guilty on 14 counts

Despite conflicting opinions on the defendant’s mental competency, a judge found a woman guilty of all 14 felony counts related to a 2010 St. Johns County road rage incident. Andrea Zampatti allegedly rammed her Land Rover into a bicyclist, ran a scooter of the road and crashed into two St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies and a truck, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Several people were injured, but no one was killed in the series of accidents, the newspaper reported. Zampatti was initially ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial and spent five months in a state mental hospital, but has since been released on bond, the newspaper reported. Zampatti’s St. Johns County defense team continued to argue that she was mentally ill at the time of the crash, which led to her behavior, but the judge ruled last week that she was mentally competent at the time.

She was found guilty of 14 felonies in this St. Johns County Aggravated Battery case. Two charges – aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon and aggravated fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer causing death or serious injury – are first degree felonies in Florida punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. She was found guilty of five second-degree felonies, which carry a maximum of 15 years in prison, and seven third-degree felonies, each punishable by up to five years in state prison. The judge has the option to sentence the maximum on each of the counts, which would be 160 years in this St. Johns County Aggravated Battery Case, but it’s rare that a sentence would be that severe.

In the vast majority of criminal cases, a trial is done in front of a jury of one’s peers. In some cases, particularly complex cases where there are a mental health concerns, the defense can request that the trial be done just in front of the judge. These trials are known as bench trials. If the St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney requests the bench trial, the state must also agree for it to go forward. In any St. Johns County Criminal Case, there are certain strategies and techniques that a criminal defense attorney will look at in order to provide the best representation of his or her client. The hallmark of our criminal justice system is a defendant having a trial in front of a jury of his or her peers, but that may not always be in the client’s best interest. Our St. Johns County Aggravated Battery attorney will fully investigate the case of you or your loved one and then lay all of the options and potential consequences out on the table so you can make an informed 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 Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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