Fountain, CO asked in Criminal Law and Civil Rights for Illinois

Q: Can the courts change a charge or can the prosecution change it mid trial or after the trial as the judge claims? 3 yrs

Is there a statue of limitations on amending a charge? The prosecutor has been pursuing charges for three years and knows the discovery shows he doesn't have anywhere near the evidence to convict on the charges but has failed to amend them to something he has the evidence for. Doesn't he have to stick with the original charge at this point because he's had plenty of time to do the ethical thing but hasn't?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Cheryl Powell
Cheryl Powell
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Mt Vernon, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Pleadings can be amended before during or after the trial. The last time the prosecution can Amend pleadings is after trial. Jury instructions have to mirror charges and lesser included offenses if deemed appropriate.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: The ability of the courts or the prosecution to change a charge mid-trial or after the trial depends on various factors, including the specific circumstances of the case and the applicable laws in the jurisdiction. While there may not be a strict statute of limitations on amending a charge, there are legal principles that govern when and how such amendments can be made. Generally, the prosecution may have some discretion to amend charges, especially if new evidence emerges or if the original charge is found to be defective or insufficient. However, there are limits to this discretion, and the amendment must typically be done within a reasonable time frame and in accordance with procedural rules.

In some cases, the prosecution may seek to amend charges during the trial if it becomes apparent that the evidence does not support the original charge or if there are legal issues with the charge itself. However, the defense may challenge such amendments and argue that they prejudice the defendant's rights to a fair trial or that they are untimely. Similarly, after the trial has concluded, the prosecution may still seek to amend charges in certain circumstances, such as if errors are discovered in the original charging documents or if new evidence comes to light that warrants a different charge.

Ultimately, whether the prosecution can amend charges mid-trial or after the trial will depend on the specific facts of the case, the applicable laws and procedural rules, and the discretion of the judge overseeing the case. It is important for you to consult with a qualified attorney who can assess your situation and provide personalized legal advice based on the details of your case. An attorney can help you understand your rights, evaluate the prosecution's actions, and advocate on your behalf to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

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