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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 25516
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I know of someone going to prison that should not be going,

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I know of someone going to prison that should not be going, on a sexual charge.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a criminal lawyer.

The police do not need very much evidence to make an arrest and the state does not need much to file charges. All they need is something called probable cause. Probable cause in this instance would just be the reasonable belief that illegal sexual contact may have occurred and that a particular defendant may have had something to do with it.

The words of a credible-sounding complainant can be enough to provide the State with probable cause, and the police do not have to investigate any further than that before turning the file over to the prosecutor. If you're thinking that anyone can get someone else arrested if they are a good liar, you are not very far from the truth, and it's fortunate that most people are honest and don't try, or we'd all end up under arrest at one time or another.

What's also lucky is that while it is very easy for the State to justify an arrest, it can't get a conviction unless it proves the charges to a jury or judge beyond a reasonable doubt. That burden is the heaviest in all of law, because if there's any doubt about what occurred, the finder of facts must dismiss the case.

So, if the person who was charged with touching a minor is indeed innocent, and if the minor is nothing but a liar, the defendant will be able to fight this case and his lawyer can try to show the minor for the liar that she is.

If this person has already been convicted after trial, and that's why he is going to prison, then his lawyer has 30 days from the sentencing to file a notice of appeal to take his case before a higher court to try to reverse the conviction. If this person took a plea, then he has told the court that he did do this. He can still try to petition to get his plea back or appeal it, but his own admission of at the time of his plea and sentencing can be used against him, making this hard to win.

Either way, he'd need a post-conviction criminal attorney to try to undo this if he has now decided that he should have gone to trial on the case.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The thing is, he did do a plea agreement, he was forced in signing this by the appointed lawyer by saying that if he did sign it he would go to prison for a 140 years.

He doesn't understand what he signed. He does have some disabilities in reading and writing and that was provened.

The child (at the time) is his oldest. The reason she is doing this is that he divorced her mother.


Thanks for the quick reply. It is the duty of every lawyer, public or private, to acquaint his client with all of his choices along with the risks of exercising one choice over another. If the maximum penalty here was essentially a life sentence, the lawyer has to tell that to his client. That doesn't mean the client has to take the plea. It does mean that he has to be told all of the consquences he could potentially face, before he makes his choice.

If his lawyer was remiss and did in fact force him into this plea, or if his disabilities would rise to the level of his not understanding his options, he would certainly have grounds to appeal the case or to petition to take his plea back.

What would happen though is that if he got what he wanted, the case would have to be tried. There would be no chance of another deal. And if the case was reduced for the purposes of a plea agreement, once the plea is overturned, the case would revert to the original charges. So he would still be potentially facing 140 years as a worst case scenario.

Still, if he thinks it worth the risk, he needs a post-conviction lawyer to get on this quickly before the 30-day notice period runs out.
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