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Can I Withdraw My Guilty Plea?

Criminal Defense

If you entered a guilty plea at your arraignment only to later regret it, you aren’t alone. Many criminal defendants find themselves in this exact same situation, wondering what their options are and if they can change their plea after the fact. 

While you might automatically think a court would never entertain such an idea, there are some instances where a plea withdrawal is beneficial and even the only legally ethical path considering the case circumstances. 

Here’s what you should know about plea withdrawals, how they work, how to decide if this is the best course of action in your own criminal case, and how to get the legal help you need when facing criminal charges. 

What Does It Mean to Withdraw Your Guilty Plea? 

Withdrawing a guilty plea essentially erases it from your court records as if you never pled guilty in the first place. 

This is not easy to do, however, there are some legitimate scenarios where a judge would allow a guilty plea to be withdrawn. 

  • The defendant was pressured to plead guilty by their lawyer or their lawyer entered a guilty plea on their behalf without explicit consent 
  • The defendant was incapable of knowledgably pleading guilty 
  • New evidence in the case becomes available 
  • The defendant entered a guilty plea due to being denied their constitutional right(s)

Withdrawing Your Plea Prior to Sentencing 

If a judge hasn’t accepted your plea yet, you can file a motion to withdraw it. In some cases, after the facts of a case have been brought to light during a trial, the prosecution may choose to also withdraw any deals that were offered prior to sentencing. 

Withdrawing Your Plea After Sentencing 

After you’ve been sentenced, withdrawing a plea is much more difficult. However, it’s not impossible. Typically this is done when a clear injustice has occurred against the defendant, such as one of the scenarios outlined above. For example, a judge may be more willing to approve a plea withdrawal if a defendant can show being coerced into pleading guilty.  

Contact a Denver, Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Today for Help 

Knowing how to plea, and whether you should later withdraw it, are complex matters that require the assistance of a seasoned Denver criminal defense attorney. 

Richard B. Huttner understands the delicate nature of the situation you’re in and can provide you with the zealous legal advocacy you need to give you the best chances of a positive outcome. Call today for your consultation at 303-595-4342.

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