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Under what circumstances may a No-contest plea be appealed?

Gainesville, FL |

I feel I was pressured into accepting a no-conest please with a withhold of adjudication. The day before the trial, the procescutor demanded either I accept the plea or the charge will be upgraded to a felony and I would be arrested.

I now understand that the prosecution may do this but if there are no points of evidence that would substantiate this charge, is this reason enough to appeal?

They did not want to take the case to trial. I was prepared but the idea of a felony charge and actually going to jail was too much to accept only one day before the trial. So I accepted.

The unethical portion of this is that the facts and evidence in no way supported a Felony charge. Could an appeal to withdraw a plea be successful?

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Attorney answers 6


Plea bargains can be difficult to withdraw but it is possible assuming you don't run into issues w/ time. If sentence was imposed you should have 30 days to withdraw your plea. If you are outside the 30 day window, you may have other ways to attack the plea, but they are fact specific and you will need to talk to an attorney about them. I suggest finding a good local attorney here on AVVO or on


Basically, you would have to show that you were either coerced/pressured into taking the plea, you did not understand what the plea involved and/or you were medicated/not in your right state of mind when you signed off on said plea. This is actually a tough standard of proof to overcome because judges should go over the plea form you signed and you had to answer these questions already. Please consult with a local lawyer to review your case and determine if a withdraw of plea would be the best thing for you.
Good luck,


In order to withdraw your plea you have to be able to establish that the plea was not freely and voluntarily entered into. This is largely determined by the questions the Judge asked you and the answers you gave along with any plea form or other document you signed at the time your plea was accepted. Most Judges know what questions they need to ask along with what answers are required in order to make a plea legally binding.

Without reviewing all the facts and evidence, it is not possible to give a proper opinion regarding the liklihood of sucess of your case.


Sometimes prosecutors use this type of leverage to pressure cases to get resolved. If you were represented by an attorney in this case, then you should have had the opportunity to discuss the facts, the strengths and weaknesses of your case - as well as the risks of going to trial. If the facts and evidence did in fact support the prosecutor's ability to charge you with a felony, then it sounds you like you probably got a fair deal.

Time is of the essence in this matter, because you only have 30 days to withdraw your plea and you'll need to file a motion to get back in front of the judge who sentenced you. Simply having second thoughts about your decision will probably not be enough of a basis for the judge to allow you to withdraw your plea.

If you did have an attorney representing you in this matter, you should contact that attorney to discuss your concerns.

My answers on are intended to help clarify the legal process in your situation to the extent possible on this website. Criminal law can be very complicated and very serious. Every case is different and my answers are not intended to serve as legal advice unless so stated. If you have been charged with a crime you could be placed on probation or face incarceration. Please contact an attorney if you think you need legal advice in a criminal matter.


You have 30 days from the date of sentencing to wthdraw your plea. At the time of your plea you would have signed a form called an acknowledgment and waiver of rights form. Assuming the judge followed legal protocol, he/she would have gone over that plea form with you, including all of your rights, and asked you if this is want you wanted to do and if you were doing it freely and voluntarily. Understand that if you are succesful in withdrawing your plea, all deals are off the table and you will likely being going to trial. If you are found guilty you can face up to five years in prison for a thrid degree felony. The other alternative you have is, assuming you have no other convictions, to seal your record once you complete your probation. Remember, if you violate your probation you will likely become a convicted felon and again are subject up to the maximum sentence allowed by law. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for a free consultation to discuss the pros and cons of trying to withdraw your plea. Good luck!


It is difficult to withdraw a plea post-sentencing, and time is most certainly of the essence. You should contact an appellate attorney to assess your options. Good luck to you. The information available through this site is not, nor intended to be, legal advice. You should contact an attorney to discuss your own personal set of circumstances. Past results do not guarantee future results. Each case is unique and should be judged on its own merits. The choice of an attorney is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

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