Is there still a chance to change lawyers after you have already signed a plea deal but haven’t been sentenced yet?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is there still a chance to change lawyers after you have already signed a plea deal but haven’t been sentenced yet?

My husband originally was being charged with aggravated sexual assault of a minor, the DA cut a plea deal and lessened the charged to indecency with a minor. The plea deal is 15 years on the sex offender list and the first 5 years on probation. We feel the lawyer which was court appointed does not have his best interest at heart and we also feel like he was pressured into singing the deal because the lawyer and court made him feel he had no other choice than this or the max sentence. Is there any way now that he has signed the plea deal that we could request a new lawyer this far in?

Asked on November 2, 2018 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It would be very, very difficult. At this stage, you need court permission to either change lawyers (this can be done freely early in a case, but only with court permission this late) or to undo the plea. You would have to persuasively show that the lawyer did not explain the consequences of the plea to your husband (or even actively lied about what it meant), so that he could not make an informed choice. Your husband's educational level and clinical diagnosis would most likely help, IF you can also show that the lawyer was aware of them: if he was, he would be expected to make allowances for them in how he communicated with his client, your husband)--but if the lawyer was not made aware of these factors, they would be irrelevant.
But again, you have to show that the lawyer, in a fairly profound or significant way, did not explain the plea properly or get informed consent. If he did explain it properly, then even if it was not as good an outcome as ideally possible, if your husband accepted it after understanding it, he will held to it and also be unable to change attorneys.

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