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Can I change my plea at pre-trial?

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Once you have been charged with a crime and made an initial plea, the judge will then assign you to a pre-trial date. Most of the time, this hearing is around 30 to 45 days after you have been arraigned. Even though it is not the actual trial, you are going to be in front of the judge for the proceeding. This is an imperative part of the proceedings because the judge is also going to provide you with a trial date. You are also going to meet with the prosecutor and discuss that information they have against you for the offense.

When it comes to the pre-trial, the prosecutor is going to give you another chance to accept their plea deal. It may be the same offer as originally provided to you when you were arraigned, but it could also be something completely new. If the offer is new, it could end up being better or worse than the original offer they provided for you.

For those who decided to accept the plea provided from the prosecutor, you can enter into a guilty plea from that of not guilty previously. When you change your plea to guilty, you are giving up your right to an appeal and the right to have a trial. You will receive information from the judge on how to complete your sentence and excuse you. At that time, you will be done with your day in court.

If you end up deciding not to take the offer from the prosecutor because you want to go to trial and fight the charges you are facing, you will get a trial date from the judge. For those who opt for a trial, you will have to complete the pretrial statement for the court. Make sure to list all witnesses with complete information, so that way they can call them in on your trial date. If you fail to provide the information for a witness on the pretrial statement, they will not be allowed to testify during your trial. You will also need to outline any evidence that you plan to bring into light at the trial.

In the end, you have the option of changing your plea at the pre-trial, but you want to make sure you fully understand what it is that you are dealing with on your charges and not digging yourself deeper into trouble.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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