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Can you recant a guilty plea?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

There are times when it may make sense to plead guilty to a crime. For example, if you know that the other party has solid evidence and that you would potentially have a high-risk trial, you might take a plea deal and agree to plead guilty to know that the penalties would be minimized.

On the other hand, there are times when people think pleading guilty is the best route to help them avoid punishments when the reality is that they should not have pled guilty at all.

There is often a misunderstanding about pleading guilty that suggests that the law will go gently on someone who admits wrongdoing—that isn’t always the case. If you’re innocent pleading guilty in the hopes of making the case go away or you actually committed a crime but want to minimize the penalties, you still could be making the wrong decision.

I made a guilty plea…can I recant it?

You may be surprised to know that you can recant a guilty plea and withdraw that statement at any time. You do not need a reason to withdraw your plea, either.

That said, it is harder to withdraw this plea once you make it, so it’s smart not to plead guilty unless you have gone over all your options with your attorney and believe that it is the right one for your circumstances.

With any plea withdrawal, you’ll need a good reason

While you are allowed to ask to withdraw your plea at any time before sentencing, it’s important to have a good reason for doing so. Knowing that you are actually innocent or having evidence of coercion would be two potentially solid reasons to ask to withdraw your plea.

Some common times you’d want to withdraw a plea could include:

  • If you misunderstood the charges you were facing.
  • If you didn’t understand your Constitutional rights.
  • If you don’t think there is a factual basis for your plea.

You can take steps to correct an error, even if that error was making a guilty plea. It’s worth considering if you are worried now about a conviction and how it could affect you.