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I took a plea for an arson case which was an accident my…

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I took a plea...

I took a plea for an arson case which was an accident my cigarette started a fire never been in the legal system my lawyer threatened me with a 10 year sentence if I took it to court I had no money for bail at the time no family in the state to help I was afraid of losing my belongings and dog I o saw the reports there was no proof of an accelerant used that shows it was an accident so they offered me a plea that no jail time community service and pay restitution I completed the community service failed to pay restitution so on the deferment they gave me a felony conviction which is on my record now I think my lawyer had a large case load and miss represented me and my personal interests I was terrified never being in trouble and didn't understand anything about the legal system I called the police to put the fire out why would I start it intentionally I'm just angry hurt and disappointed in trusting in our legal system to get screwed over is there anything I can do to reopen the case

Lawyer's Assistant: When we are ready I'll take you to the appropriate web page.

Ok thank you I Appreciate it

Lawyer's Assistant: What were you convicted of exactly? Have all your appeals been exhausted?

I haven't appealed any thing not sure where to start I was convicted of arson

Lawyer's Assistant: In what state did the arson occur?

Colorado

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

I really just want my life back this plea has ruined my life I didn't do it on purpose I just want it reopened so they can see I'm innocent

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
12/20/2017
Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 7 months ago
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,421
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Verified

Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post. How long ago did this happen? Did you seek to appeal the conviction at the time?

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Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 7 months ago

I was hoping to get a reply from you before I answered but I'll respond now. You can always respond if you need to provide me with further information or if I've misunderstood your situation.

Even under the best of circumstances, it is almost impossible to take a plea back once a defendant has made it and been sentenced. That's because a judge won't sign off on a plea unless he's sure that a defendant is taking it voluntarily and of his own free will and because he is actually guilty. To that effect there is always some kind of a plea allocution -- statements put on the record or signed off on by the defendant -- the purpose of which is to make the plea airtight.

So you can try to get the plea back on the basis that your lawyer didn't advise you properly and you, therefore, had ineffective assistance, but the fact is that your own words during the taking of the plea probably would indicate otherwise and that will likely be problematic.

Also, your lawyer was able to take a serious charge with a maximum possible sentence of 10 years of prison and get you probation and a deferral. Had you completed this successfully, your case would have been dismissed. So the deal he got you was a very good one.

Finally, assuming you are successful in getting your plea back, you would then have to go to trial on the original charges. You'd get your day in court, but your maximum risk, if you lose at trial, would be the same 10 years that you didn't want back when you took the plea in the first place.

If by now you have paid the restitution and your case is completely closed, it might be safer for you to try to just get a pardon from the governor or to reopen your case with a petition to the judge for a dismissal in the interest of justice rather than to go after your lawyer and try to get your plea back.

This dismissal is a long-shot and not one that some judges are willing even to entertain without an especially compelling reason. But judges do have the power to dismiss a case under their powers of equity, even when the law doesn't specifically support it. They will do so to prevent an injustice. I think that the fact that you could have had a dismissal here but/for the fact that you were too poor to pay off all of your restitution in timely fashion might be a reason compelling enough for a judge to consider such a motion. And if the judge won't grant that, at least you'll be no worse off than you are now.

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Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 7 months ago

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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