PDA

View Full Version : plea bargaining/sentencing



rosehips
01-29-2013, 12:39 AM
My mc is charged with felony burglary (max sentence 6 years, fine of $10K), unauthorized entry of property (misdemeanor, 6 months in county, $1,000) and preparing and offering false evidence (felony, 3 yrs max, I couldn't find anything about a fine). This is according to the CA penal code. Her attorney is advising her to plea bargain. I want the result to still require at least one year of prison time.

Please advise me as to the configuration that would fit. Thank you so much in advance!

ETA: My mc has no priors.

jclarkdawe
01-29-2013, 05:32 AM
Unauthorized entry should be a lesser included offense to burglary, and hence if she pleads or is found guilty to burglary, the unauthorized entry disappears. Unless the unauthorized entry is into a different premise.

Without knowing a lot more about the false evidence and the burglary, it's going to be hard getting to a year here for someone with no priors. You've got nine years here max, and maximum sentences are only for the really bad, with records to prove it.

If I were to try this and take my chances with the judge, I'd expect something in the range of 6 - 12 months county jail, with about 5 years of probation afterwards. Especially in California, which has a surplus of inmates. Good day with the right client and I've plead cases like this to no time.

So a year in prison means the burglary or false evidence is going to have to be a substantial annoyance to society. For instance, false evidence involving a kidnapping might do it. But it's going to take a lot.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

melindamusil
01-29-2013, 07:22 AM
It might help if there is a public outcry to the crime. For example, let's say the burglary is into a nonprofit organization that provides help to high risk children. It's been a huge help to the community, has brought down crime rates, etc., and the burglary causes significant property damage/loss. Lots of people (including the media?) are just up in arms, how dare he do this, etc. Maybe there's a group of protesters at the courthouse when he's arraigned/tried. The general public would really prefer that he be drawn and quartered. Thus the judge will take a middle ground and give him a few years in prison.

(I'm not a lawyer and not even sure how legitimate this kind of scenario would be, especially in a state like CA, but hopefully it gives you some ideas.)

rosehips
01-29-2013, 07:58 AM
Thank Jim and Melinda!

Jim, I'm pming you.

blacbird
01-29-2013, 08:08 AM
Plea agreements get entered into whenever both prosecution and defense see reasons not to take a case to trial. The details of such agreements are entirely individual to the case, and possibly to local/state/federal guidelines. It's impossible to generalize about such things.

caw

rosehips
01-30-2013, 12:18 AM
Thanks for your response!


Plea agreements get entered into whenever both prosecution and defense see reasons not to take a case to trial. The details of such agreements are entirely individual to the case, and possibly to local/state/federal guidelines. It's impossible to generalize about such things.

caw

It was my understanding that the vast majority of cases get resolved through plea bargains (I read one article that said 98%, and of course now I can't find it). So much so that in California, I think it was Sacramento, they have templates for lawyers to use to save time (same article). However, I 1) have not found a copy of said templates online, 2) probably wouldn't be able to make sense of the legalese if I did.

jclarkdawe
01-30-2013, 02:05 AM
Blacbird's comment is accurate in so far as a used car salesman can't tell you what a car is worth in the abstract. For example, how much is a 2005 Ford Explorer worth? With that minimal information, you have a range of nothing to $40k.

However, if we start adding in mileage, options, color, body condition, and so on and so forth, a good car salesman can come up with a price within a thousand dollars or so. It's not always going to be correct, but most times it's going to be pretty accurate.

Sentencing guidelines are the starting point in determining a probable sentence. Experience builds on this. As a defense attorney, you've got to know what a crime is worth. As soon as I see the charges, I'm already beginning to figure out what the probable sentence will be. Add in the defendant's criminal history and it narrows down some more. Figure out who the prosecutor is and how good the case is and you've got a number you can tell your client.

Just like a car salesman needs to know what cars are worth, representing criminal defendant's involves knowing what a crime is worth.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe