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Withdrawing a guilty plea.

Riverside, CA |
Filed under: Criminal defense

I plead guilty to a possession of a controlled substance for sale charge. The substance was not mine but I was represented by an attorney that represented me and a codefendent on the same case. I was never informed that this was a potential conflict of interest. I feel like my rights were violated by this specific lawyer. Is there anyway that I have legal grounds to to withdraw my plea. Plea was taken about 3 months ago.

The retainer agreement only speaks about a consent to allow joint representation.. There are no details about pros/cons or disadvantages. It was merely a brief sentence about consent. The court does not have a conflict of interest discussion or anything of that nature on "the record". I was completely unaware i was being deprived of my sixth amendment right.

Attorney Answers 2


The answer is: possibly. The rules for withdrawing a plea are set out in Cal. Penal Code 1018, which state that before judgment or within six months of being placed on probation, the court may permit a withdrawal if the defendant who is able to show "good cause." Unlike most things in the criminal court system, you will have the burden of showing with clear and convicing evidence that you have good cause.

You should consult an attorney as soon as possible [particularly given your time issues] to preserve your right to withdrawal. A competent attorney should be able to look at your case and advise you first, about why you may or may not wish to withdraw your plea and second, if you have good cause.

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The first thing you should do is look at the documents your attorney gave you...specifically the retainer agreement and see if there's anything in there about a conflict.
Also, due to the time-sensitive nature of the plea withdrawal, you should hire an experienced criminal law attorney to get started on the process for you ASAP.

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