A relative is due in court tomorrow to make a plea. Is it too late to obtain new counsel and ask for continuance?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Boone, NC

The attorney said he will not ask for a continuance based on new information. Relative feels attorney wants him to plea and relative was prepared to plea. He does not trust court appointed attorney will provide him adequate counsel at trial. Relative is innocent with no past arrests. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow for a plea. Should he state his concerns about new information, a continuance and the fact he is now seeking new counsel? His attorney will not bend and said he needs to either take the plea or go to trial. Any chance if he asks for this, judge would get mad, make him take plea and then slap him with a maximum sentence? Prosecutor has stated would accept low to mid range of the sentence. Need some quick advice thank you.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Damon John Chetson

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If your relative does not want to plead guilty, your relative cannot be forced to plead guilty. Whether a new attorney is appointed will depend on whether the court believes that there is some issue between the defendant and the attorney that prevents adequate representation.

    The fact is that by rejecting the plea, your relative may end up going to trial because the DA cannot be forced to re-offer the plea or to offer any plea at all.

    The judge can't make the defendant take the plea. If he doesn't want to take a plea, then the case will go to trial. If convicted by a jury, the defendant could be sentenced to a maximum sentence for his level, depending on what the judge thinks is appropriate.

    Raleigh criminal lawyer Damon Chetson represents people in Raleigh, Cary,... more
  2. Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . It all depends on:

    1 - what has happened in the case to date.
    2 - what the charges are.
    3 - what the plea offer is.
    4 - the nature of the "new information"
    5 - what stage of the proceedings you are at, i.e. is it scheduled for trial in a week?
    6 - do you have another attorney ready to step in?

    The right to counsel is strong, but it is not absolute, it doesn't override everything. If the court believes your relative is trying to game the system it is not a good thing.

    Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. This answer is not legal advice, which... more

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