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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71031
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Can you withdraw your guilty plea in a plea bargain if you

Customer Question

Can you withdraw your guilty plea in a plea bargain if you haven't been sentenced?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

No, I am sorry but you cannot.

If you have formally entered a guilty plea then it cannot be withdrawn.

You can make an application to vacate a guilty plea but you have to show really strong reasons for it. A good example would be something like it was entered in error.

Another very effective option though seems to be to go off to probation and deny the offence which seems to lead to a vacation of plea much faster than by any other means.

Obviously you can only do that if its true though.

Can I help further?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My husband is innocent but was coerced into making a guilty plea by his lawyer to receive a lower sentence than if he was found guilty....but he now regrets it...

So if he tells probation he is innocent, they will proceed with a vacation plea?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
He can only do that if its true and there are no guarantees it would work.

Also, if his lawyer pressured him into pleading then there was probably good reason for it. There is no point in getting pleas vacated only to be convicted and face a harsher sentence.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Although he has not been sentenced, the judge indicated that it would be a long sentence possibly even indeterminable... his lawyer had told him a max of 8 years...if he gets a long or indeterminable sentence then it will be no different to if he had gone to trial and tried to prove his innocence!

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, there is always that risk but thats not a ground to vacate Im afraid.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Then what is the point! The idea of the plea bargain is supposed to be a reduced sentence to save going to trial

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, its a gamble and sometimes it fails