Criminal Defense

Can I Withdraw My Guilty Plea?

Why would anyone plead guilty to a crime that they did not commit? It may seem counterintuitive, but surprisingly enough, people do this every day. In many cases, the confession comes as part of a plea bargain made with a lawyer’s advice in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence. Other times, intimidation at the hands of law enforcement has frightened or tricked the suspect into admitting an involvement that never existed.

Regardless of the reason for having pleaded guilty, innocent people may soon come to regret having done this. At this point, they may want nothing more than to withdraw that guilty plea, but how would they go about it? Is that even possible?

The answer is yes, but it may not be easy. Most judges are hesitant to grant such requests without a good reason to do so. Nevertheless, the desire to clear your name is understandable, and if you are innocent, it is also worth the effort.

Filing the Motion to Withdraw

Your attempt will begin with the filing of a motion to withdraw. This motion simply requests that the court ignore your earlier plea and continue as if you had never made it. However, your chances of success will depend or whether you can demonstrate good cause for making this request. In the state of Nevada, legitimate grounds for doing so might consist of situations in which:

  • The quality of your legal representation was ineffective or not up to prevailing standards.
  • Intoxication, insanity or ignorance were to blame for your mistake.
  • Inadequate assistance from an interpreter or translator caused you to misunderstand the situation and its potential ramifications.
  • You were incorrectly led to believe that if you pleaded guilty to this crime, probation might be an option.

If the court believes that you have valid reasons for wanting to withdraw your guilty plea, they will be more likely to grant your request.

Timing is Everything

While you may have excellent reasons for filing your motion to withdraw, the timing of your request will play a large role in its eventual success. It is possible to file at any time, but your chances will be far greater if you make the motion before the judge has handed down your sentence. In deciding whether to allow the withdrawal, the court will use its discretion in evaluating the circumstances in their entirety.

It is best to make your request as early in the game as possible. The court will most likely deny an extremely late filing if it feels that you had no legitimate reason for waiting so long to make it. This is particularly true if the extended passage of time would hinder the state’s ability to mount a viable prosecution.

Of course, if you wait until after sentencing to file the motion to withdraw a guilty plea, you are going to face some additional hurdles. There will always be the suspicion that you are doing this in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence than the one you’ve just been handed. However, the courts may still grant your request at this late stage if it feels that any other action would deprive you of your right to due process.

Additional Considerations

In the state of Nevada, your motion to withdraw a guilty plea may undergo a trial of its own in the form of an evidentiary hearing. This gives both prosecution and defense the opportunity to present evidence and make their arguments concerning whether the court should or should not grant your request.

As your case progresses, you may make more than one request to withdraw a guilty plea. In addition, if a Nevada criminal court has denied your motion, you do have the right to appeal its decision. However, unless the Supreme Court judge determines that the earlier decision by the district judge was seriously amiss, your chances of success in this regard are slim.

Let Weiner Law Help Deal With Your Bogus Guilty Plea

In the hopes of ensuring a healthy conviction rate, prosecutors at the state and federal levels are fond of encouraging defendants to plead guilty even when they are not. Although coercion sometimes enters the picture, the inauthentic plea results most often from a situation in which the defendant has agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a guaranteed lighter sentence and the chance to avoid a jury trial.

Unfortunately, once you given a guilty plea, it’s not always easy to withdraw it. If you are a Nevada resident who has wrongfully pleaded guilty to a crime, the experienced attorneys at Weiner Law Group are here to help. We will assess your case, explain your options and spell out your chances of setting aside your ersatz guilty plea. Don’t miss the chance to correct this mistake. Call Weiner Law today at 702-202-0500.