In California, Penal Code Section 1018 allows you to withdraw a guilty plea upon showing good cause. In order to show good cause, you must present evidence that clearly and convincingly persuades the judge you have a valid excuse for withdrawing the plea. For example, the judge is going to want to hear that:
- Your lawyer gave you bad advice
- The judge did not fully explain the rights you were giving up
- You did not fully understand the legal consequences (e.g. loss of professional license
or a substantial fine)
- You did not understand because of a language barrier, or
- You were improperly influenced by another or by a psychological issue
It is not enough that you are not happy with a plea agreement or that you changed your mind. Additionally, if you entered a plea without an attorney present, a judge must let you withdraw a guilty plea and substitute a plea of not guilty unless you freely waived your right to an attorney in open court.
If you had a lawyer present when you entered your plea, the judge may still let you withdraw your plea. However, the motion will only be granted if you did not “knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently” waive your constitutional right to a jury trial.
Time to Withdraw
Even if you have good cause, you must file a motion to withdraw either before sentencing or within six months of a probationary sentencing period. The longer you wait to file, the less likely a judge will be to grant your motion. Therefore, time is of the essence.
Benefits of Withdrawing Your Guilty Plea
There are several advantages to withdrawing a guilty plea. It is possible that a conviction could result in deportation or revocation of a professional license. By withdrawing your plea, you may be able to secure a lesser charge that would not result in the loss of your professional license. If you are not a U.S. citizen, a guilty plea could lead to your deportation.
Like a guilty plea, a no contest plea is an admission of guilt and can sometimes be used against you as evidence in another proceeding if you are later sued civilly or in family court. A guilty plea also gives the court the power to impose criminal restitution, which means the judge can order you to compensate the victim for any physical, psychological, and emotional harm caused. This means that if you are successful in withdrawing your plea, a guilty or no contest plea for a felony conviction cannot be used against you as evidence. Therefore, you may more easily avoid fines, civil judgments against you, or an unfavorable decision in family court.
If you’ve been arrested for a sex crime, you may have already made several appearances in court. Because the prosecution may offer you a plea bargain at any time before the trial phase, you may have even given testimony in open court (for example, at a preliminary hearing). Everything you say in open court is evidence that also can be used against you in your case. If your skilled attorney is successful in withdrawing your guilty plea, your case essentially resets and you start all over. This can be very beneficial to your case and sometimes is the best strategy for your defense.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime or need to withdraw a guilty plea for any crime, you need to contact an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney immediately.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing criminal charges for over 30 years. We will meet with you immediately to review the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy that will help you obtain the best outcome possible.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.