January 9, 2015
Many times, those who decide to plead guilty or no contest later regret their decision. They are afraid of trial, and believe that entering a guilty plea is this best option. However, many defendants later regret their decision. They are left wondering if and how they can withdraw their guilty plea.
Can I Withdraw My Guilty Plea?
According to Florida Criminal Procedure 3.170:
“The court may in its discretion, and shall on good cause, at any time before a sentence, permit a plea of guilty or no contest to be withdrawn and, if judgment of conviction has been entered thereon, set aside the judgment and allow a plea of not guilty, or, with the consent of the prosecuting attorney, allow a plea of guilty or no contest of a lesser included offense, or of a lesser degree of the offense charged, to be substituted for the plea of guilty or no contest. The fact that a defendant may have entered a plea of guilty or no contest and later withdrawn the plea may not be used against the defendant in a trial of that cause.”
This basically means that it is up to the court if you can withdraw your guilty plea, but generally, if you have not yet been sentenced, the standard for withdrawing your plea is lower than after sentencing. The best way to learn if you are eligible to withdraw your guilty plea is by speaking with your attorney.
How to Withdraw My Plea?
In Florida, you will need to have your attorney file a motion to vacate your previous plea. This will then begin the process of officially changing your plea. If you meet all the legal requirements and all the proper paperwork has been filled, a judge will hold a hearing to determine whether your plea may be withdrawn. Whether or not your plea is withdrawn will be up to the judge.
When the judge is deciding on whether or not to grant the withdrawal of the plea, they will consider several factors such as why you want to withdraw your plea and if you were aware of the consequences of your plea at the time of the entry of the plea.
Hire an Attorney to Fight For You
If you wish to withdraw a guilty plea, it is imperative that you have an attorney on your side. Court proceedings can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the judicial system. At the Khonsari Law Group, we can help guide you through your trial, and will assist you through every step of the way. Call KLG today for a free consultation.