Ethics in predicting a plea negotiation?

Asked 6 months ago - Palo Alto, CA

My attorney is telling me that the judge has requested my appearance in court at the next hearing so that we can settle the case. He is supposed to talk to the DA between now and then and work it out. He told me what he intends to negotiate. He said he cannot ethically guarantee me anythong but he is confident.
I live out of state..charged with felony 487 under $2, 050. I have one prior conviction of the same charge from 6 years ago. Same county, no jail time, probation and community service completed flawlessly. He said he wants to negotiate a drop to a misdemeanor in exchange for some sort of restitution, fine and arrange community service for me in my state.
Considering my 1 prior is that a reasonable deal that can be worked out? If he says he is confident does that mean he knows ?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Robert Lee Marshall

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . It's impossible for any lawyer to predict the outcome of plea negotiations... especially a stranger on the Internet who only knows what you've posted.

    What does "confident" mean? Ask your attorney exactly what he means.

    If I was the one saying it (and I'm not), it would mean, "Based on my experience with this particular DA and judge, I think there's a pretty strong chance that we can get the case resolved this way; however, I can't guarantee that it will work out that way."

    Of course, it isn't helpful that you committed the same crime again, six months later. Your attorney knows all about you, and may have some evidence that you've turned your life around this time.

    PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTACTING MY OFFICE: My office is located in Chico, Butte County, California. I offer... more
  2. William Jordan Steed III


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Attorneys cannot ethically (or practically) guarantee an outcome in any criminal case, whether in terms of settlement or outcome a trial. Based on the facts presented here, it sounds like the attorney has done exactly what he should in terms of negotiating a settlement to a lesser offense, not making any guarantees, and advising the client of the likely outcome based on his familiarity with the court and prosecutor.

    The author provides answers on this site based on hypothetical questions and fact patterns. The answers provided... more
  3. Andrew John Cates

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . First of all I am not a California Attorney. Your attorney has an obligation to be truthful with you at all times and to keep you informed of all significant developments in your case. If he is following the rules than he does not know what the outcome of your case will be and you should take him on his word.
    As to whether or not the contemplated outcome is possible given your record, only a foolish attorney would get your hopes up only to have them dashed in court after traveling form such a distance.
    Trust your attorney—if you don’t, hire a new attorney who you trust.

  4. Anthony Bettencourt Cameron

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Absolutely not. It does not mean he "knows." A prediction or goal setting in plea bargaining is based upon an understanding of the facts of the case, the profile of the offender, the experience of the attorney and an understanding of the "atmospherics" of the case and county. From 3000 miles away, it sounds to me like he is too optimistic but let's all hope he's right.

    As an aside, you might want to focus on a new hobby. It doesn't appear you have a lot of talent for undetected criminal activity.

    Good Luck to you. Hope it works out.

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