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Just curious : At a change of plea hearing if I let the judge know I don't understand or agree fully with the plea terms what are my options

Asked 4 months ago in Criminal Defense

Billie’s answer: Once your plea is entered, the court will not be swung by you not liking or agreeing with it. The question will only be whether you entered the plea "knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently." Quite likely, the judge that accepted your plea first went over the document with you line by line, and made findings on the record that you made your plea "knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently." Usually, the only way a judge will find differently is if the defendant does not have the intellectual capability, etc, or the record of the plea hearing is devoid of facts tending to show the KVI requirement. If the change-of-plea judge DOES find that the plea was entered unlawfully (you didin't do so KVI), then what will likely happen is that the plea is withdrawn, whatever deal you had with the prosecutor goes away, and the case is set for trial.

Answered 4 months ago.


If I pay a $100 fee to request for a fta warrant to be quashed, am I pleading guilty to the fta, or to the original charge?: This is pertaining to WA state. I recently found out that I have a fta warrant for a dwls/r in the 3rd degree (first offense). Instead of turning myself in to get a new court date, I can pay $100 on the municipal court's .gov website to request for it to be quashed and a new court date set, so as to avoid being in jail. In the terms of payment, however, it says that by paying I am pleading guilty to the charge. Does this mean I'm pleading guilty to the charge of failure to appear, or to the charge of dwls/r in 3rd degree? The original charge (dwls 3rd, 1st offense) is from Jan 2nd, 2007 - which is more than 10 years ago. So I don't want to admit guilt on a charge that they may otherwise be unable to prosecute, due to the statute of limitations. Since the warrant is in a town that is hours away from where I work and live, it would be much better for me to be able to pay the fine to quash the warrant, but I don't want to do so if it will be quite harmful to my case. After taking care of the warrant, I intend to pay the dol reinstatement fee and get my driver's license (which I have never had incidentally, only a learner's permit). What is the best course of action for my situation?

Asked 5 months ago in Criminal Defense

Billie’s answer: I don't want you to mention which court here on Avvo, as that may disclose your identity. I would be VERY interested in looking at that website, though. I'd hate to think a court is trying to get people to plead guilty to a crime without being advised of their rights or afforded counsel!!! It's possible, but unlikely, that the warrant has expired. At any rate, just quashing the warrant won't keep you from having to travel to this far-away court (even if you plead guilty you'll need to be sentenced). I would contact an attorney and ask if they could scratch the surface of this for you, and tell you what your options are. Also, you may find out you are eligible for a court appointed attorney to handle the case for you.

Answered 5 months ago.


Can I make a case against the state of Washington for making a technical error which resulted in a class c felony that shouldn't: Okay when i was a juvenile i got a charge that was lowered from a class-c felony to a misdemeanor Instead of assault in the third degree it was supposed to be lowered to attempted assault. An error which has cost me two jobs where i was let go from the results of the background check. And when i asked them why that was they told me that i shouldn't have a felony and that it was a mistake in which they claimed that there was nothing they could do to change it. Sandra Howe of the juvenile department assumed that it would be an easy correction so I kept in contact with her until she could find a solution and resolve my situation that i should not have been in, in the first place. After about a week she had told me that unfortunately it could not be changed so a seemingly simple correction could not be accomplished. Even though its incorrect they could not change it. All in all i feel that this isn't right in any way because one computer error resulted in a felony and i feel that there should be something done in this immensely frustrating mess up.

Asked 6 months ago in Criminal Defense

Billie’s answer: Your only recourse is going to be hiring a lawyer to work through the paperwork to determine if there was a fixable error, or a misunderstanding between you and your attorney at the time. Errors can sometimes be fixed. Misunderstandings generally cannot. Many attorneys don't take these types of cases - they require creativity that many trial lawyers don't have much experience with - they practice pre-trial, rather than post-conviction issues. Attorneys that answer questions on Avvo are sometimes a good place to start. We are not allowed to solicit in this forum.

Answered 6 months ago.