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I made an alford plea. Can the court say I was convicted of the original charges later in a custody visitation case?

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I made an Alford Plea to DV in WA State. When court was deciding on visitation it was stated I was convicted of the original charge of rape which did not occur and was dropped due to the plea agreement. It is printed in the final visitation order I will not have visitation due to this so-called "conviction". That is not accurate and I am not sure what to do to get it changed. Can you please advise how to get this changed so it properly and correctly conforms to what actually took place during my sentencing? I did NOT plead "guilty" to this and as I stated it was dropped and I made an Alford Plea to the lesser charges. I am about to be released and need to reunite with my child.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    The Alford plea is still a guilty plea, it just doesn't necessarily admit any wrongdoing, but rather it's an understanding that there is enough evidence that if you went to trial, the jury would likely find you guilty, and you don't want to risk it.

    If the charges were dropped from rape to some lower DV related charge in exchange for your Alford plea, then you're guilty only of whatever you actually plead to. If the court ordering visitation is misinformed, you need to contact the court and ask for another hearing to set the record straight. At the hearing, bring this misinformation to the judge's attention and bring whatever supporting documents you have.


  2. You were convicted of what you were convicted of. If the rape charge was dismissed or reduced you were not convicted of it. Was it "read in?"

    An Alford plea means that you did not agree that you committed the crime for which you were convicted, but did agree to be convicted of that crime, usually to take advantage of a plea agreement.

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  3. A person does not have to be convicted of any crime in order for the court to restrict that person's time with a child. RCW 26.09.191 (Restrictions in temporary or permanent parenting plans) provides most of the basis a court can find to restrict a person's parenting time.

    The statutes are at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=26.09 .

    Apparently, you are in jail/prison for a charge involving DV. The original charge involved allegations of sex crimes.

    The facts likely are sufficient under "(3) A parent's involvement or conduct may have an adverse effect on the child's best interests, and the court may preclude or limit any provisions of the parenting plan, if any of the following factors exist: ... (g) Such other factors or conduct as the court expressly finds adverse to the best interests of the child."

    You should review the specific facts with your attorney to find out your legal options.


  4. Yes. An Alford plea requires you to acknowledge that, though while you do not feel you are guilty, you are pleading guilty to avoid the hazards of trial and to take advantage of plea bargain offer.. Thus, there is very little practical difference between a guilty plea and an Alford plea.

    Scott W Lawrence
    Law Office of Scott Lawrence, PLLC
    (425) 488-8481


  5. An "Alford" plea even to a lessor charge is a "best interst" plea but still a guilty plea. contact a criminal defense lawyer in your area.

    Any response given is not to be taken as legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship.

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