Changing your mind about taking a plea – We have often said there are three ways for a criminal case to end. Those three ways are; a dismissal, a trial, or a plea. The fact is that most cases end with the defendant taking a plea but it is not a process that is commonly understood because much of it is unlike what someone would typically deal with in daily life. One question we get is “can I change my mind about taking a plea?” In this blog, we will discuss changing your mind about taking a plea offer. Like all of our blogs, this is intended for general information only, and not as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
Changing your mind about taking a plea offer is usually something you can do
We will get straight to the point. Generally, changing your mind about taking a plea is an option that is available to you any time before the plea is taken in open court, and in certain circumstances for a very short time after the plea is taken in open court. What is important is the thought process behind changing your mind about taking a plea and the consequences of changing your decision about taking a plea. Once you make that decision, you have to deal with what is next.
After changing your mind about taking a plea you will typically have to go to trial
If you have decided not to take the plea offer that is available to you and your case is not dismissed, all that is left is taking your case to trial. Usually, any concessions that were promised will be null and void, the plea offer will be withdrawn, and you will have to face the full applicable force of the sentencing guidelines, and the collateral consequences of conviction, as they pertain to your situation.
Chances are you are you are not going to get a better plea offer
We have actually heard clients say “I heard the first plea offer is not the best one” or “I heard the third plea offer is the best one.” We are not sure where people are getting this stuff from, but it is very unlikely that the prosecutor in your case is just so desperate to get you to take a plea that they continuously give you a better offer every time you reject one. Plea offers can change, but that consideration is best on the strength of the evidence, the availability of witnesses, and other circumstances. Changing your mind about taking a plea, only in hopes of getting a new one can be problematic. There may not be a new plea offer, or the new plea offer may be worse than the first.
Before you make any major decisions about your criminal case, be sure to consult a criminal defense lawyer.