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Withdraw A Guilty Plea
You have been arrested, charged and brought before the court. The judge has asked you to enter a plea, you have been offered a plea agreement by the prosecution and pled guilty to the charges against you. The judge has sentenced you but now you want to know if it is possible to withdraw your guilty plea and substitute a plea of not guilty. It is imperative that you know your rights and become aware of the options that are available to you.
Withdrawing Guilty Plea – Penal Code 1018
What is a guilty plea?
A defendant’s admission to the charges against him or her in open court.
How can you withdraw a guilty plea?
A guilty plea may be withdrawn on application of the defendant by having an experienced defense attorney prepare a motion to withdraw the plea and substitute it with a plea of not guilty, to be filed with the court.
Who can withdraw a guilty plea?
A defendant who was not represented by an attorney or was represented by an incompetent attorney, or was coerced into the plea at the time the guilty plea was entered.
A defendant who was granted probation when entry of judgment was suspended and who wasn’t aware of the consequences of entering a guilty plea or was prejudiced by a language barrier.
What are the requirements to withdraw a guilty plea?
For a defendant to withdraw his or her guilty plea, the court requires that the defendant be able to show good cause to withdraw the plea.
What is good cause?
Good cause is when the defendant can show that he or she did not intend to enter a guilty plea and entered into it as the result of ignorance, inadvertence, mistake, or some other factor that demonstrates overreaching.
What is the legal standard to show good cause?
A defendant is required to prove good cause to withdraw his or her guilty plea by a clear and convincing standard. This means that it is more likely than not that the defendant did not freely, knowingly and intelligently waive his or her constitutional rights at the time the guilty plea was entered.
When can you withdraw a guilty plea?
A motion to withdraw a guilty plea may be made at any time before sentencing or within six months after an order granting probation is made if the entry of judgment was suspended.
What can you expect if the motion to withdraw a guilty plea is granted?
If the court grants a motion to withdraw a guilty plea, it will be as if the defendant never entered the guilty plea in the first place. The defendant will be placed back in arraignment and have the right to proceed to trial or to enter into a new plea bargain.
What can you expect if the motion to withdraw a guilty plea is denied?
If the court denies a motion to withdraw a guilty plea, the defendant will be obliged to complete the terms of his or her sentence. The defendant may appeal the court’s decision only if he or she is able to prove abuse of the judge’s discretion or that the judge ruled based on a legal error.