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IF I TOOK A PLEA AND WAS SENTENCED TO 10 MONTHS HOME INCARCERATION CAN I PUT IN A MOTION FOR A SENTENCE REDUCTION/MODIFICATION?

Midlothian, VA |

MY FRIEND WENT TO COURT IN MARCH AND ACCEPTED A PLEA FOR 10 MONTHS HOME INCARCERATION. IT IS NOW SEPTEMBER AND HE WOULD LIKE TO PUT IN A MOTION FOR SENTENCE REDUCTION/MODIFICATION. SO HE IS HALFWAY THROUGH HIS SENTENCE. HE HAS ALSO COMPLETED NUMEROUS OF PROGRAMS/ALTERNATIVES HE WASN'T ASKED TO COMPLETE OR DO TO BETTER HIS SELF. HE HAS COMPLETED THINKING FOR A CHANGE A PROGRAM PROVIDED THROUGH THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CORRECTIONS. AND A PERSONAL PROGRAM CALLED NEW PATHWAYS AND HAS ALSO SEEKED A THERAPIST. WHICH HE HAS COMPLETED ALL 3 ALREADY. HIS TEACHER FROM THE THINKING FOR A CHANGE AND HIS PROBATION OFFICER HAS WRITTEN LETTERS ON HIS BEHALF FOR THE REDUCTION. DOES HE HAVE A CHANCE TO RECEIVE ONE? AND CAN HE ASK FOR ONE BEING HE ACCEPTED A PLEA?

Attorney Answers 7

Posted

I agree with my colleagues. I think the best thing to do is contact the attorney that represented the client in the plea agreement. They should then reach out to the Commonwealth's attorney to have a discussion about reducing the sentence. That's because the sentence was reached by way of a plea, and to just file a motion to reduce sentence would (at least in my mind) likely be seen as going back on the agreement.

If there are some compelling reasons why the sentence should be reduced, I'd be pushing the CA on those and try to get it agreed to. Without an agreement, I think it's going to be difficult to get a judge to move.

I think it's great your friend did all of these things he wasn't required to. And getting a probation officer on his side is a great step too. But the best thing is to get the CA to agree to it.

Hope this helps.

This answer does not create a attorney/client relationship, but is intended solely in the court of discussion. It is always my recommendation to retain an attorney whenever a court appearance is necessary. This recommendation is highlighted when it relates to an individual's criminal record.

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Posted

I am certain that the judge accepting a plea from that defendant made sure the defendant was properly legally represented by either a private or appointed counsel to accept a free and voluntary plea which content was explained by that attorney. That being said, the best legal route would be to contact the attorney of record to draft such Motion on all concomitant merits for the court to consider or retain a new local private counsel to initiate that legal procedure.

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Posted

I am not admitted in Virginia. As a general rule, though, it is entirely in the sentencing judge's discretion whether to reduce a sentence. Your friend should contact his former attorney and proceed accordingly. If this case were in New York, I'd say the reduction was a long shot, because the defendant got the bargain that was promised.

I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon free legal advice, and I disclaim any liability for the outcome if you do. Any opinions offered on matters outside New York State are for general informational purposes only.

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Posted

I concur with the others. Seeking a sentence mofification unilaterally is like reneging on the bargain. Because a copy of the motion must be sent to the CWA, it is likely that he or she would write a response to remind the sentencing judge about the plea. Therefore, absent some compelling reason, I think the judge would not grant the motion . As the others have suggested, if your friend has done something extraordinary that may warrant a second look at the sentence or even a modifcation of how it is to be served without an actual reduction, the CWA may go along with it. Absent that, I think he has no chance. The best thing to do is to have his attorney contact the CWA and discuss it before filing anything. Only if the CWA is on board should the attorney file.

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Posted

I would say your friend needs to contact the attorney of record and go from there.

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Posted

I concur with the other attorney's. Your friend should reach out to the attorney of record and ask that he/she reach out to the Commonwealth. I would recommend filing a motion to reconsider through an attorney and not on his own.

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Posted

The Commonwealth Attorney would have to agree to it because the sentence was subject to an agreement.

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