I feel I was misrepresented on a theft by taking charge. Can I change my plea to not guilty after I have been sentenced?

Asked over 1 year ago - Augusta, GA

On 5/9/13 I was sentenced to 5 years for a theft by taking charge that I am innocent of. My lawyer informed me that by pleading guilty the max my sentence would be was an additional 30 days in prison and probation. I plead guilty for fear of pleading innocent and being found guilty with the sentencing being 10 to 30 years in prison. There is no evidence to prove me guilty however there is no evidence to prove me innocent either which is why I chose to plea guilty. I feel that my lawyer didn't discus my best options or the worst case scenarios properly with me. So now that I've been sentenced is it possible to withdraw my plea of guilty?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Mark Allen Yurachek

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . I'll start with the simplest answer: yes, it is possible to withdraw your
    plea. Depending on which county in which the plea was entered, you can file
    a motion to withdraw the plea if you are still within the same term of
    court as when you entered the plea. Given how recently the plea was made,
    I'd bet you probably can file a motion to withdraw. If you are not, but if
    it is still within four years of the plea being entered, you can file a
    petition for a writ of habeas corpus to withdraw the plea. That's my basic
    "yes," answer to your basic question of whether or not it is possible to
    withdraw.

    Now, should you withdraw? On the one hand, the dilemma you describe is a
    common one and normally a very good reason to enter a negotiated plea where
    you can sort of control the punishment you receive. On the other, you said
    that your lawyer did not discuss what you were facing if you did not plea
    adequately, which certainly is a reason to seek to withdraw the plea,
    assuming you are willing to accept the risk of taking a much harsher
    sentence if you withdraw the plea, go to trial and lose.

    On balance, you need to provide these details to an attorney who deals in
    post-conviction work as the first step to figuring out where to go from
    here. There are some relevant details that you have not provided which are
    best discussed one on one, but for sure, you should talk to an attorney
    about the situation.

  2. Lee William Fitzpatrick

    Contributor Level 16

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . It is very difficult to withdraw a plea once the sentence has been entered. If you can show some ineffective assistance of counsel and show that the ineffective attorney's advice caused you to take a deal that you otherwise would not have taken and if the judge believes that both of those facts are true, it is in the judge's discretion to allow you to withdraw your plea. But, you need to think about the consequences of doing so. You will still be facing the 10-30 years you were worried about, you still could get convicted (odds are that the state thinks its got a case and your lawyer thought to too since he/she went along with your plea), and there is no way that the state is going to offer you a new or better deal if you withdraw your plea (if they offer one at all, it will be worse). If you still want to try to withdraw you're plea, you need to consult an attorney quickly as you are not qualified to do it yourself and there are timelines that will run out quickly.

  3. John Arnold Steakley

    Contributor Level 18

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . You can file a motion to withdraw a guilty plea during the same term of court. Unless your county just now started a new term, you should still be within the window of time to do it.

    Will it work? Unlikely, based on what you've said. A plea can be withdraw to correct a "manifest injustice", but regret is not a manifest injustice. Absent a showing of a manifest injustice, the plea will stand.

    Since you describe a lawyer that didn't have much time to talk to you, I'm guessing you had a public defender. Public defenders are very busy and spend very little time with most clients.

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  4. Darrell Brinnett Reynolds Sr.

    Contributor Level 17

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    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . In Georgia a person have the right to withdraw a plea as along as it is in the same term of court that the plea was taken.

    Darrell B. Reynolds,
    Attorney and Counselor at Law
    2385 Lawrenceville Highway, Ste D
    Decatur, Ga. 30033
    404-636-6616

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