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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13754
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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My lawyer wants me to plead guilty on a charge but I am not

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My lawyer wants me to plead guilty on a charge but I am not guilty of it. I didnt commit the crime. It is email harrasment and phone harrassment. He said that is if pled guilty he could get the phone harrasment dropped and a Pjc for the email harrasment. Do you think I should plead guilty and what is a PJC. I have never been in trouble with the law before and just wondering what is the best option.
Thank you for your question.

A PJC is a "prayer for judgment continued", and something done in North Carolina normally in low level misdemeanors and traffic offenses.

It essentially allows a defendant to plead guilty to a crime, without having the plea entered against them. It is a win-win situation generally, because the prosecutor can count it as a conviction, but in general it does not count as a conviction against the defendant. When a person is granted a PJC they need only pay the costs of court, there are no fines or other fees.

Essentially, when you ask the Court for a PJC, you’re telling the court “It was a mistake, I promise I’ll never do it again.” In return for that pseudo-promise, the Court doesn’t convict you for whatever that was. In North Carolina, you’re only allowed 1 PJC every three years, per household. If, within 3 years, you commit the same offense or something very similar, the Court revokes the PJC and charges you with both offenses at that time. So, if you know you're not going to be charged with anything similar in 3 years, it can be a good deal for someone who got into a little minor trouble.

As for whether you should plead guilty or not -that is not something we can answer on this site. First, it would be giving you legal advice, which we cannot do. But more importantly, we do not have all of the facts, evidence, etc. that your lawyer has to be able to give you an educated opinion. It is certainly your right to fight it if you want to, but you need to talk to them about this. Why do they feel you are better off pleading guilty? What makes them think if you took it to trial you could be convicted? Your lawyer may just be trying to protect you and doing what they think is best, XXXXX XXXXX their reasoning will help you make a more informed decision.

If, after hearing their reasoning, you still wish to fight the charges and go to trial, that is your right as a defendant. Your lawyer has to listen to what you tell them to do, not the other way around.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My lawyer said since it was traced back to my ip address that we would have a hard time covincing the judge that it was not me since it is invovling my ex g/f. He said that no matter how many people use this computer it would be a hard time convincing the judge it was not me. That is why he is telling me that I should plead guilty. But if I plead guilty and get a Pjc would it go against my record?

A PJC in North Carolina will show up on your criminal record, yes. What you would want to find out from your lawyer is if you take the PJC whether or not it can be expunged (meaning the record is sealed or destroyed so it no longer shows up in a background check). From my research, there appears to be some debate as to whether a court will allow it or not - and that is something you would want to know before taking the PJC.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Right now I am on suspension from my job with pay but if I am found guilty I would lose my job. So you think if i plead guilty and get a pjc that will help me keep my job?

That depends on how your employer would view it, if they would even understand what the PJC is. You are still pleading guilty, though not convicted. However, as I mentioned, it will show up on a background check. So, it's totally up to your employer - it's not a conviction, but if they care that it shows up on a background check, or that you plead guilty, you could still lose your job.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

But is it true that you can only get one expungement in your life time in nc. And if I got the expungment then it wouldnt show up and I should be safe right?

Only one per lifetime in North Carolina, yes, and there are lots of rules as to what can and cannot be expunged, etc., which is why I said you need to check with your lawyer about expunging a PJC.

If it is expunged, it would not show up on a background check and you could tell people that you were never convicted of anything, yes.

As for your current employer - as I said, I don't know what they would do if you took the PJC. That's really only something I think your employer can answer since they are the ones setting policy.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

They told me if I was not found guilty I could return back to work. But I mean this whole criminal law thing is screwed up. I know a bunch of people that have about 50 criminal charges and never serve a day in jail or anything. I mean break ups are evil. I mean why is it so hard on a person trying to make a honest living?

That's not really a legal question - it's just asking for an opinion. Is the system flawed? Sure, but no system is perfect, and ours is better than a lot of others out there.

I can only give you answers based on interpretation of the law -it may not always be just or fair, but it is what it is, unfortunately.

With respect to your employer, I would talk to them if you are concerned about the PJC because they may not even know what it is. It's something done in North Carolina and a bit of an "odd duck" because even though you plead guilty, you aren't convicted, but you still have a record. So I would, if I were you, make sure they aren't going to consider that a guilty plea.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok. I will talk to my lawyer. I called my employer today and talked to the main boss and he told me that I would not be fired if I did get a PJC cause I have been a good faithful employee their for 8 years he said that he would give me a break. But can you answer answer this question? Do you think if I called other lawyers around here and talked with them you think they would help me out by answering my questions or do you think it would be like this site cant answer legal questions?

Lawyers in your state are obviously going to be licensed, so they can talk to you more about the PJC and whether it can be expunged from your record. However, I think most would avoid giving an opinion as to your case or how you should plead, without consulting with you and being able to go over and look at the evidence. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a fair and educated opinion.

No lawyer could have told you what your employer would do, because that ultimately is their decision to make. I am glad that they are not going to treat it as a conviction, should you make that choice, and allow you to keep your job.

RobertJDFL and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think you for your help. I am sorry to have so many questions. It is just I have tried to do what is right all my life and help people and they end up using you then at the end of the day the bad guy.

It's no problem, it was my pleasure to help. Good luck to you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am going to need all the luck that I can get. My lawyer told me everytime you mess with a female you dealing with the devil is that true in court?

Not in my opinion. That may just be something your lawyer said, but courts deal with facts and evidence, and the burden in criminal court is on the prosecutor to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It makes no difference if a man or a woman was involved.