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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 12407
Experience:  JD, MBA
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Hello. My neighbors 18 year old son was involved in a Gang

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Hello. My neighbor's 18 year old son was involved in a "Gang Assault" recently and pled guilty to the charges without advice from any form of legal representation. The family feels that he shouldn't have pled guilty, and that he was somehow not properly informed of all of his possible options. He is scheduled to be sentenced to federal prison on April fifth, and I've pretty much been asked to find out if he has any options he should be made aware of.

I haven't been given all of the specifics pertaining to his legal history, but I was told he was on probation when this crime was committed.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

I'm sorry to say that a defendant may plead guilty without the assistance of an attorney. Therefore, the fact that the son was not represented will not be helpful ... unless he could not afford an attorney and yet he asked for an attorney, but was denied. If that happened, then his 6th Amendment rights were violated, and he could appeal the guilty plea and conviction, and ask for a trial with an attorney.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.

If the information that I provided is helpful, then please remember to click the green accept button so that I will receive credit and compensation for my time. Positive feedback is always appreciated as well. Thank you and good luck!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I guess what the parents want to know is whether or not he has any legal right to change his plea at this stage of the case against him.

I've met him on a few occasions, and short of having the wrong friends and too much free time he seems like a good kid. My personal concern is that he might not exactly be intelligent enough to learn from any number of years in prison, and that this conviction may be a turning point which leads him to continue to make the wrong decisions and become a repeat, or lifelong offender.
Generally speaking, once a plea is made, it's too late to change it. As I mentioned earlier, if he can show that his rights were violated, then he would have a good argument to change his plea. However, if the only issue is a change of mind, then that is not usually allowed. Having said that, the judge does have discretion. I think it would be worthwhile for the son to hire an attorney, and then have the attorney ask the judge to strike he plea and allow a new plea of not guilty based on the lack of legal representation. The judge doesn't have to allow it, but he can, so it is worth a try.

I hope that helps. Please remember to click "accept."
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