Can I withdraw my guilty plea before sentencing in South Carolina?
1 attorney answer
I don't practice in SC and you really need to speak with your attorney ASAP! You say "lack of counsel". I am assuming you mean "ineffective counsel". That being said, withdrawing a guilty plea is nearly always a very difficult endeavor.
For example, in federal court within the 4th Circuit (of which SC is a part), there are 6 factors which are considered; (1) whether the defendant has offered credible evidence that his plea was not knowing or not voluntary, (2) whether the defendant has credibly asserted his legal innocence, (3) whether there has been a delay between the entering of the plea and the filing of the motion, (4) whether defendant has had close assistance of competent counsel, (5) whether withdrawal will cause prejudice to the government, and 6) whether it will inconvenience the court and waste judicial resources. Ask your attorney if the sentencing can be continued for a short period of time to better explore the realistic chance of success in withdrawing the plea.
In my state and in federal practice, the judge always asks a litany of questions to determine if your guilty plea is knowing and voluntary. Absent extraordinary circumstances, overcoming the plea hearing questions and answers are the biggest obstacle. That event is at the heart of factor numbers 1 & 4, above. Whatever you do, you need to it ASAP!
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