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Amending charges

La Jolla, CA |

In mid June of last year I noticed on discovery that the City Attorney had added charges. Since I hadn't been informed of those charges I asked about them in open court and the CA eventually brought out a motion where only 2 of these supposed charges were asked for. We were immediately sent to a courtroom where they were approved. Now I found a document that the same amended motion was in Late May and was to be heard a day later. Now I find a document that says that these charges were filed and approved without my knowledge or that of my attorney. The minutes say that the motion was heard to amend and granted in Mid June when I was in court. There is no reference anywhere that such charges were filed or granted anywhere else.

It's vague and confusing to me . Sorry. The case was dismissed. Now, I am seeing documents for the first time, and trying to sort out so many things that seemed mysterious. I now have a police report that says that a police officer provided information to the city attorney and she "filed four additional charges." It was the PD at the time but only when I became pro per did I mention "hey why does it say four added charges" and then the city attorney brought out a motion to amend with 2 charges.According to documents the 4 charges were filed by a CA 3 months before the motion to amend.. Then two private attorneys did not mention this and it is not in the minutes or transcripts.that any such motions were heard and I never plead not guilty or was advised of rights until I brougth attention to it.

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Attorney answers 2


There is no way that any attorney can actually give you advice on this because your facts are very vague here. What I can tell you is that if an amended complaint was filed, you were to have been notified of those charges, informed of your constitutional rights as to those charges and either you or your attorneys would have entered a plea of not guilty to those charges. There simply is no such thing as adding charges and having them approved. Every time you are charged, you must be presented with a copy of the charging document, informed of your rights and enter a plea. If you had a lawyer, and he did not inform you of the new charges, then you need to find another attorney. There simply is no such thing as adding and approving charges without the knowledge of the attorney and client. I am sure there is more to this story. Can you post additional specific facts?


I agree with my colleague Ms. Prevost that your answer is confusing. I believe however that I partially understand what happened. In order to amend a criminal complaint the DA or CA must bring a motion for permission to amend before the Court. These motions are routinely granted even on the day of trial unless your attorney can show you were prejudiced by the amendment which is hard to do.

When the court grants permission to amend that does not mean the court has approved the charges, whatever that might mean to you. It simply means that the court has given the prosecutor the chance to add new charges which he must then prove beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted of them.

Ms. Prevost is correct that you would have to be arraigned and plea to each new amended complaint. It could be, since the CA was the prosecutor, that the charges were misdemeanors and your attorney was appearing in court in your absence as a convenience to you. He may also have arraigned you on the amended complaint.

More than that I cannot say based on the incoherencies in the question. If you don't have an attorney you need to get one as these charges are clearly beyond your capacity to deal with them.