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Old 09-18-2017, 01:38 PM
edascal edascal is offline
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Default Pleading to a higher charge?

Hello. Has anyone ever plead guilty to a more serious charge than what was originally charged? For example, originally charged with second-degree assault and plead guilty to first-degree assault. What are the legal implications of this? Can the plea be appealed? Is the plea subject to collateral attack? Is this constitutional?

Laws of the State of Washington apply to this question. Thank you.
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:50 PM
yourself yourself is offline
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I am not a WA lawyer, but will speak generally.

Can you plea to a crime more serious than the original charge? Yes. This happens when the evidence of the case changes or is re-evaluated to determine that the original charge is insufficient to cover the criminal conduct. Here's an away example: Dude gets charged with ag assault with bodily for putting a guy in the hospital during a fight. Guy is in a coma. Guy then dies. Since the guy died within a year of the assault, it is murder. Dude's charge is upgraded to murder. He pleads out to the murder. Sometimes, with serious cases, they charge what they know they have and then upgrade the charge after a legal evaluation of the evidence.

What are the legal implications? This is a very vague question. The legal implications are that a person has pled out to a more serious crime, usually resulting in more time.

Most plea deals include provisions that prevent a person from appealing. This doesn't negate habeas, but it does preclude a direct appeal.

What sort of collateral attack are you envisioning?

Yes, it is constitutional.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:47 PM
edascal edascal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yourself View Post
I am not a WA lawyer, but will speak generally.

Can you plea to a crime more serious than the original charge? Yes. This happens when the evidence of the case changes or is re-evaluated to determine that the original charge is insufficient to cover the criminal conduct. Here's an away example: Dude gets charged with ag assault with bodily for putting a guy in the hospital during a fight. Guy is in a coma. Guy then dies. Since the guy died within a year of the assault, it is murder. Dude's charge is upgraded to murder. He pleads out to the murder. Sometimes, with serious cases, they charge what they know they have and then upgrade the charge after a legal evaluation of the evidence.

What are the legal implications? This is a very vague question. The legal implications are that a person has pled out to a more serious crime, usually resulting in more time.

Most plea deals include provisions that prevent a person from appealing. This doesn't negate habeas, but it does preclude a direct appeal.

What sort of collateral attack are you envisioning?

Yes, it is constitutional.
Thank you, Yourself.

I admit this was a vague set of questions. Long story short, an arrest on 18 counts with no enhancements resulted in a plea to one count with an enhancement. However, a later court case ruled that the 18 counts should have been rolled into one count to begin with, with the enhancement up for debate. The enhancement was never filed until the plea hearings.

What this means is that what should have been one count (possibly with no enhancement) was plead up to one count with an enhancement.

Per CrR4.2, I believe "that the withdrawal [of the plea] is necessary to correct a manifest injustice. If the defendant pleads guilty pursuant to a plea agreement and the court determines under RCW 9.94A.431 that the agreement is not consistent with (1) the interests of justice or (2) the prosecuting standards set forth in RCW 9.94A.401-.411, the court shall inform the defendant that the guilty plea may be withdrawn and a plea of not guilty entered." 9.94A.411 (2)(a)(ii) says, "The prosecutor should not overcharge to obtain a guilty plea. Overcharging includes:
...
(B) Charging additional counts."

The alleged manifest injustice would be the enhancement that would not have been part of the original charge, the overcharging, and collateral attack claims.

Other issues appear to allow a collateral attack claim on the grounds of numerous ex post facto applications of law, and that a court ruled that the law in question was misinterpreted, and that this case was adjudicated per the misinterpretation.

Thank you.
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