Can a defendant sign a plea agreement and then withdraw the plea before sentencing? 81 Answers as of June 28, 2013

If you sign a plea agreement and the court accepts it but it has not yet been sentenced, can a defendent withdraw from the plea on or before sentencing?

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Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
Yes.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 5/24/2013
Toivonen Law Office | John Toivonen
It depends on the circumstances. If the Defendant has a plea agreement and the judge intends to sentence the Defendant to more time than stated in the agreement, he can withdraw his plea.

In other situations it depends on the reason for withdrawing the plea. If the Defendant can establish that he was threatened into taking the plea, or defrauded, the court should rule that he can withdraw his plea.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/14/2012
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Did you enter the guilty plea yet? By that I am asking "Did you stand in front of a judge and admit your guilt?" Sometimes a guilty plea is taken and an open sentence is accepted with a hearing for punishment later. (Very common in federal court, not so common in state.)
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/14/2012
Law Office of Richard Southard
Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
It is VERY difficult to do but depends on the reason for wanting to withdraw the plea. Keep in mind that the deal offered will not get better and likely will be taken off the table completely. Also your lawyer's ability to defend your charges will be hampered by your admitting to the crime under oath at the time of your plea.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/14/2012
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
You can withdraw your plea, but only under certain grounds. Normally, once you plead guilty, you are stuck with your plea.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Once you plead it requires good cause to withdraw your plea even if it is before sentencing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    A request can be made of the court to withdraw the plea. There would have to be a reason for the withdrawal. It would be up to the discretion of the court as to whether the plea is withdrawn.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
    A judge has the discretion to allow a person to withdraw a guilty plea prior to sentencing but it is not mandatory. A judge will weigh a number of factors in deciding whether to allow the withdrawal of a plea.

    If a pre-sentence report has been completed and a recommended sentence is known, it may be more difficult to withdraw a plea. The sooner the request is made, the more likely it will be allowed. If a person simply has 'buyer's remorse' a judge is less likely to allow withdrawal of a plea versus a finding that the attorney failed to fully advise of the consequences of a plea. The fact that a judge accepted the plea after an extensive plea canvass makes it less likely that a plea can be withdrawn.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes, it's up to the judge to allow it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    In federal court once the plea agreement is accepted by the court you cannot withdraw the agreement. But that will not preclude you from filing a motion to withdraw the plea.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    very hard to do and you need a really great reason, but ask your attorney as he knows that judge and that county.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
    Yes, but there has to be a good reason. The court will not allow someone to withdraw their plea just because they've changed their mind. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer in your area for consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Sometimes yes. Seek representation to attempt to withdraw or at least determine if your plea agreement is fair.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    Sometimes, depending on the circumstances and why you wish to withdraw from the agreement. This is something that you should be discussing with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Michael S. Edwards, Attorney at Law, PLLC | Mike Edwards
    The answer to your question is: maybe. If you file a motion to withdraw your guilty plea before you are sentenced, the judge will then hold a hearing on your motion. You have the burden of convincing the judge that your guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. If you can do that, the judge will let you withdraw your plea. If you cannot prove that, then the judge will not let you withdraw your plea. You might want to consult with a good criminal defense attorney, to find out whether or not the facts of your case will likely give you the results you seek. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Yep but you better think about that carefully.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    The answer is yes, if the judge lets you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Sometimes that is possible.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    First off, the rules are different in Superior Court than they are in District Court. It sounds as if you are in Superior Court and if that is the case, the answer is no. If you are in district court, the sentence is part of the defendant capped plea and if the sentence is not defined, the judge should not have accepted a plea.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You can, but the court is going to be furious. So better have a good reason and prepare your lawyer to get his ass chewed out.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You can file a motion to vacate your guilty plea, anytime before sentencing, but it is up to the judge if he will grant it. I would advise consulting with counsel about all your options before moving forward on the matter, and figure out what is the best option for you at this point.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    The Law Offices of Stephen L. Richards | Stephen L. Richards
    Yes, but the standard is very high. You need a good reason for withdrawing.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Sure, but don't expect to be offered a better, or even ANY new plea bargain. You WILL have to go to trial on the charges if you dishonor your agreement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    It is unlikely. The court normally asks you if you understand that you will not be able to withdraw your plea agreement. Unless your attorney failed to act competently there is not a reason a court will allow you to withdraw your plea. Also, if the DA agrees they may want to go for more punishment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    If you have good cause the Judge may allow that.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Yes, if the court grants their motion to withdraw their plea.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Yes, if you have not been sentenced you can withdraw a previously entered guilty plea or plea agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
    Michigan Court Rule 6.310 (A) permits the defendant to withdraw any plea until the court accepts it on the record. 6.310 (B) permits withdrawal after acceptance but before sentence on the defendant's motion or with the defendants consent, only in the interest of justice, and may not be withdrawn if withdrawal of the plea would substantially prejudice the prosecutor because of reliance on the plea. If there is a sentence agreement or recommendation and the court is not going to follow it, the court must inform the defendant of what the sentence will be and the defendant then has the choice of accepting the court intends to impose or withdraw the plea and go to trial. There are other situations discussed in the rule that you should probably review with the attorney that is representing you before you make your decision.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Clinton Law Office | Michael Clinton
    Generally no, but there are exceptions.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    T.K. Byrne | Timothy K. Byrne
    Some judges will permit this but they do not have to.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    In NH, you can withdraw your Notice of Intent to Plead Guilty any time including during the plea hearing.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Yes, you may have to give them a valid reason for withdrawing the plea.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of James J. Rosenberger | James Joseph Rosenberger
    Probably not. Guilty pleas are difficult to withdraw. That's why the plea judge painstakingly goes through the plea form to make sure you're making a knowing, intelligent and voluntary decision to plead guilty. If he didn't do that, there may exist a basis for withdrawing the plea.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Lee Law Group | Ernest Lee
    Friend: It is possible but difficult to withdraw a plea agreement. You must convince the court that the original plea was made under duress or it was not knowingly and intelligently done. That is, not that it was a smart thing to do, but that you didn't know or understand what you were doing and or it was done without much rational thought.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Herschel Bullen
    Herschel Bullen | Herschel Bullen
    The only time you can withdraw the plea in either State or Federal Court is before sentencing. State statute provides: (2)(a) A plea of guilty or no contest may be withdrawn only upon leave of the court and a showing that it was not knowingly and voluntarily made. (b) A request to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest, except for a plea held in abeyance, shall be made by motion before sentence is announced. Sentence may not be announced unless the motion is denied. For a plea held in abeyance, a motion to withdraw the plea shall be made within 30 days of pleading guilty or no contest. Utah Code Ann. ? 77-13-6 Federal Rule provides: (d) Withdrawing a Guilty or Nolo Contendere Plea. A defendant may withdraw a plea of guilty or nolo contendere: (1) before the court accepts the plea, for any reason or no reason; or(2) after the court accepts the plea, but before it imposes sentence if: (A) the court rejects a plea agreement under Rule 11(c)(5); or(B) the defendant can show a fair and just reason for requesting the withdrawal. Fed. R. Crim. P. 11
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    THE LOCKHART LAW FIRM | CLAYTON LOCKHART
    The general rule is that you can voluntarily withdraw your consent to a plea agreement at any time "prior" to the court's acceptance of the plea. Once the judge announces that your plea has been accepted, then you will have to make a motion to ask the court to allow you to withdraw your plea. Then it will be up to the judge to grant or deny your motion. If he grants the motion, then you can withdraw your plea, if he denies the motion then you have to appeal his decision.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    They can for good cause and with the court's permission. The court has to grant permission to withdraw the plea.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you signed a plea agreement hen it may have been a federal case. Most state cases do not have signed plea agreements. Most judges will not allow you to withdraw a plea unless there was a good reason, like where the lawyer lied to you or the judge failed to keep his promise as to the sentence.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    It is possible but very difficult + depends on specific facts, but somewhat easier than trying after the sentencing.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Once the plea is accepted you would have to file a Motion to Withdraw the plea. In said motion you would have to state sufficient grounds to convince the judge that the plea was not knowingly and, or voluntarily entered into.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You have to have a reason other than you changed your mind.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    Consult with an attorney about the reasons why the plea should be withdrawn. It can be withdrawn but only upon certain grounds.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Yes. The sentencing judge will generally allow that.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    Call your attorney immediately and tell him/her that you want to withdraw the plea. There are time limits.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    It is possible to withdraw the plea but it may take some justification to do so. If the plea is rejected at this stage, the defendant can fully expect the wrath of the prosecutor will fall heavily on him and the court will set the matter for rapid trial. There will be no further offers.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    Only by motion and permission from the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You may make a motion to withdraw the plea. However, a Judge must hear the reasons for the Motion and determined if any prejudice has occurred that would warrant denying the plea withdrawal.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    That's up to the judge, but probably not.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    Vargas Law Office LLC | Ronnie Ismael Vargas
    The defendant or the defendant's attorney would need to file a motion to withdraw the guilty plea and the Court would need to hear said motion. Here's a case which addresses the issue of withdrawing guilty pleas. "A hearing on a motion to withdraw a guilty plea is to be liberally granted if the motion is made prior to sentencing; it is discretionary if made thereafter and need not be granted if the record refutes the allegations. The defendant must raise a substantial issue of fact."
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    You may withdraw for any just reason, but it may not benefit you, or the judge can say you cannot withdraw your plea.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Under some circumstances but you need a good reason and it must be prior to sentencing.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    You do not have an automatic right to withdraw your plea of guilty. It is easier to accomplish before sentencing but it is still up to the discretion of the court.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Arneson and Geffen
    Arneson and Geffen | Mark Arneson
    You would have to file a Motion to Withdraw Plea. Under Rule 15.05 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure: "In its discretion the court may allow the defendant to withdraw a plea at any time before sentence if it is fair and just to do so, giving due consideration to the reasons advanced by the defendant in support of the motion and any prejudice the granting of the motion would cause the prosecution by reason of actions taken in reliance upon the defendant's plea." Basically, you must provide the court with a good reason why your plea should be withdrawn.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    In Utah, you have 30 days to withdraw from a plea agreement, if you have not been sentenced.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If you signed a plea agreement and the court accepts that plea agreement, then you cannot withdraw the plea. When the court accepts your plea you agreed that you were making the plea voluntary and without duress. Additionally the court asks if you give up certain rights. One of the rights is any post-conviction processes. This includes withdrawing and changing your plea. You may however tell your attorney that you changed your mind if the plea has not been accepted by the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    Yes. A defendant has the right to withdraw the plea. However, there must be a basis for the withdrawal of the plea.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    There are certain grounds to withdraw a plea but if this is simply a case of buyer's remorse then that alone is not sufficient grounds to withdraw a guilty plea. Email transmissions to clients of this office presumably contain confidential and privileged material for the sole use of the intended recipient. The use, distribution, transmittal or re-transmittal by any unintended recipient of any communication is prohibited without our express approval in writing or by email.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    He can TRY. The problem is that a defendant is usually sworn under oath and is required to give a recitation of facts that the judge relies upon in permitting the guilty plea.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Dungan, Lady, Kirkpatrick & Dungan PLLC | Michael Dungan
    You have the right to ask to withdraw your plea, but the judge has the discretion to say yes or no.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Reeves Aiken & Hightower | Arthur K. Aiken
    In South Carolina, a defendant can withdraw a plea accepted by the Court only under certain circumstances. The applicable rules are highly technical, so you will definitely need to hire a lawyer to help you with this.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Usually you can.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Jason B. Richards, Attorney at Law | Jason B. Richards
    Yes. a plea of guilty or no contest may be withdrawn only upon leave of the court and a showing that it was not knowingly and voluntarily made. A request to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest, except for a plea held in abeyance, shall be made by motion before sentence is announced. See Utah Code Ann. 77-13-6
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You can ask the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    The defendant can always withdraw the guilty plea before sentencing. Interestingly, I would love to know why the judge did not sentence at the time the plea was taken. You have omitted something super important, which I suspect will make the withdrawal of the plea catastrophic. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Pietryga Law Office | Russ Pietryga
    In theory, yes. But, you are going to have to file a motion to withdraw the plea and explain why your plea was not freely and voluntarily made. Hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA | Bernard Jones
    It depends on why it is being withdrawn. More information is needed.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Castro, Rivera & Associates | Sandra Rivera
    You'll need to file a motion to withdraw the plea and state your reasons. The judge will have to evaluate the reasons and determine whether he'll allow you to withdraw. Most judges err on the side of granting the request but keep in mind that if you withdraw, you better be prepared to go to trial. Any plea offers will be withdrawn and don't count on getting the same plea offer back down the line if you decide not to go to trial. The plea offer usually gets worse if you back out of one. With that said, you always have the right to take your case to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    John P Yetter | John Yetter
    If you have entered a plea which was accepted by a court generally you have been sentenced, even if the sentence (say, a jail sentence) isn't enforced until later. Under Illinois law you would have 30 days to file a motion to withdraw your plea.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Glojek Ltd | Joseph E. Redding
    You can file a motion to do so. The court does not have to allow it.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    With good cause
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Offices of Steven R. Hunter | Steven Hunter
    Only if he has valid grounds. It is difficult.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Possible, but it is up to the Judge, who can deny it. Your best bet is to have a good lawyer present the motion to withdraw the plea. There are statutory guidelines, and if your lawyer doesn't know what he/she is doing you will probably be denied.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Gregory C. Graf
    Gregory C. Graf | Gregory C. Graf
    Yes you can withdraw from the agreement before sentencing.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Jennifer L. Gottschalk, Esq. | Jennifer Gottschalk
    It can be difficult to withdraw the plea before sentencing. Once you have given a factual basis and the court has accepted it, it is difficult for a court to allow you to retract or rescind it, because you are in essence telling the court not to have believed what you said during the plea hearing, that you lied.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/14/2012
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