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I am getting ready to go in front of a judge for sentencing.

Customer Question
I am getting ready...

I am getting ready to go in front of a judge for sentencing. I was a witness to a murder and somehow ended up with conspiracy to witness robbery tampering with evidence felon in possession of a firearm and I have a public defender who wants me to sign a four-year prison term please if I'm going to stand confused about my case and need legal help

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And can you tell me a little more about the charge?

I am in L***** New Mexico and like I said I was a witness to a murder there was 5 of us in that room three of them fled the scene of the crime and the person I was trying to help ended up dying in my arms I couldn't leave them laying on the ground so I waited to the paramedics got there I got taken in for questioning on 3 different days on the third day I got arrested on hearsay

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

I have a public defender but he wants me to sign up for your plea due to my criminal history so he won't fight my case

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I have sentencing on October 5th 2017

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago

My cellphone number is *****************

Answered in 3 hours by:
10/1/2017
Criminal Lawyer: James Daloisio, Lawyer replied 8 months ago
James Daloisio
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 591
Experience: 30 years experience in criminal law, continuing education.
Verified

Hi, my name is ***** ***** welcome to Just Answer. I will try to answer your question, it seems you are confused about your case and do not want to follow the advice of your public defender. So let's start at the beginning.

It seems that there were five of you in a motel room. I don't know who rented the room, I don't know if all five of you knew each other, and I really do not know why any of you were there. It seems from your post that one of the five people was robbed, and somehow in the course of this robbery received injuries and died from them. Three people fled. You stayed behind to assist the victim who died.

Now, you say you were "taken in" for questioning on three different days, so I presume that you cooperated with the police and spoke with them each time. I don't know what you may have told them, but bear in mind that you were just one part of their investigation and they had a whole lot more information than what you gave them. Apparently you made statements that incriminated you.

The first thing to consider is your maximum possible exposure. Someone who is familiar with the sentencing laws has to look at the crimes that you are charged with and calculate how much time you could possibly receive if you were convicted of all of those offenses.

The second thing to consider is the strength of the case against you. They are required to provide your lawyer with all of the reports that they are relying on for the case against you. Your lawyer has to evaluate the case and decide what the best course of action is.

You say that you were arrested on "hearsay." First, an arrest can be based on hearsay. But at trial, only certain types of hearsay statements can be used as evidence. Your lawyer has to consider what evidence would be admissible at trial when he/she evaluates your case.

They have offered you four years. You have to compare that four years to the maximum possible exposure time you're facing and decide if it's worth it, because if you refuse the offer and go trial and lose, you will probably get more than four years.

Also you have to consider the effect that your criminal history might have on your prison credits. Most states offer good time/work time credits but these could be reduced because of certain prior convictions. This is another question for your public defender because you should be thinking in terms of how much time you would actually have to serve in custody before you became eligible for parole.

In my opinion the biggest consideration is the maximum possible exposure time. In other words, how good is this deal they're offering you? If your max is 10, and they're offering 4, it's a pretty good deal. Anything that's less than half your max is a good deal. Anything more means they have a pretty strong case and don't care if you take the deal or not.

So you have a sentencing hearing on October 5th, which tells me that you've already entered a plea of guilty or no contest. So if you decide to not take the four years, you are going to have to file a motion to withdraw your plea, and these are not easily granted. This is yet another issue to discuss with your public defender.

My best advice is to find out how much time you are facing, evaluate how good of a deal this four years is, find out what your credits are going to be, and then decide if you really want to withdraw your plea because if you do they will likely not make another four year offer.

That's it. I wish you the best of luck with your case. You should try to sit sown with your public defender and have him/her answer these questions so you understand what you are facing. If this has helped you understand your case I would appreciate a positive rating here. Thank you.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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