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

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. 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 requires a personal connection and far more facts. This attorney does not give legal advice over the Internet. This is a general statement about law, not advice.


  2. 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.

    <a href="http://www.chetson.com">Raleigh criminal lawyer</a> Damon Chetson represents people in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, and the rest of Wake County, North Carolina. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as the specific facts may change the potential advice. Consult with a licensed <a href="http://www.chetson.net">Raleigh criminal lawyer</a> or attorney in your jurisdiction about your legal question or problem. For a free consultation about a North Carolina case, call (919) 352-9411 day or night, any day of the week.

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