Lawyer Discussing Withdrawing a Plea With a ClientIn Virginia, you have limited rights to withdraw a guilty plea. In addition, what you must establish to withdraw your plea is different if you try to do this before or after sentencing. You need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to know whether withdrawing your plea is the best option. If it is the best option, a lawyer can help you convince the judge to allow you to withdraw your guilty plea.

Withdrawing a Guilty Plea Before Sentencing

It is not easy to withdraw a guilty plea in our state. Under Virginia Code §19.2-296, a defendant can file a motion to withdraw a guilty or no-contest plea before sentencing. However, they would need to convince a judge to grant their motion. Some of the reasons that could justify withdrawing a guilty plea include:

  • They are acting in good faith and have a defense against the crime they are accused of committing.
  • They pled guilty by mistake.
  • They would be prejudiced if they were not allowed to withdraw their plea.

Withdrawing a Guilty Plea After Sentencing

It is even harder to withdraw a guilty plea after sentencing. Virginia Code §19.2-296 provides that a defendant must show that the plea withdrawal is necessary to correct a manifest injustice. Whether this can be established would be based on the facts and circumstances of the case. Examples of when manifest injustice may be established include:

  • The defendant was not mentally competent to plead guilty.
  • The defendant pled guilty because of threats made by the prosecutor.
  • New evidence was discovered that helps prove the defendant’s innocence.
  • The defendant’s lawyer engaged in misconduct or provided ineffective counsel.

Are you considering withdrawing your guilty plea? Are you facing criminal charges in Virginia? You need to retain a skilled criminal defense lawyer to explain your options to you and mount an aggressive defense strategy in your criminal case. To learn how our knowledgeable criminal defense legal team can help you, call our Manassas office at 888-DUI-LWYR, or fill out our online form today to schedule your free initial consultation.