If you are indicted, can the DA change the charge to a more serious crime at anytime or as many times as he wants?

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2011

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If you are indicted, can the DA change the charge to a more serious crime at anytime or as many times as he wants?

My husband was indicted for AWDWIKIISI and possession of firearm by a felon. The DA first said that if he does not take the plea offer he will change this to Attempted 1st degree murder. Then he took the plea offer off of the table and says he “may” add AWDWIKIISI on a police officer. Is there a time frame or a limitation on how many times he can keep changing his mind on what he wants the charges to be?

Asked on April 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In the law there is something known as the "statute of limitations".  This is the time period in which legal action can be taken against someone.  Typically, for most criminal matters, the limitations period is 2-3 years (and it can be longer).  This means that the DA has that much time to decide what, if any, charges to bring against a person.  The fact is that changing plea deals and revoking them altogether is not unheard of.  Much will have to do with the strength of the prosecutor's case.  And this can and does depends on: the evidence; the witnesses; the offense involved; how cooperative or uncooperative the defendant is; and like matters.  At this point your husband needs to consult with a criminal defense attorney ASAP if he has already not done so.

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