CAN I WITHDRAW OR TAKE BACK A GUILTY PLEA?
Are you thinking about pleading guilty?
Or have you already pleaded guilty and want to know if you can take it back?
In Ohio, you can withdraw a guilty plea, but its harder if the case if further along. Ohio Criminal Rule 32.1 says that a defendant may withdraw his guilty plea anytime prior to being sentenced. Courts are generally open to allowing a withdrawal of a guilty plea before sentencing but there is no guarantee.
In some cases, the court could order a hearing to see whether withdrawing a guilty plea is reasonable given the situation. State v. Xie, 62 Ohio St.3d 521 (1992).
FACTORS COURTS CONSIDER WHEN WITHDRAWING A GUILTY PLEA
The court will allow you to explain why you would like to withdraw the guilty plea. Many factors, including feeling pressured to enter a guilty plea or being given poor advice, help your case.
Some of the factors a court will consider include:
- Will the withdrawal of the guilty plea cause the prosecutor to be disadvantaged in the case? For example, are key witnesses unavailable if the case is reopened? State v. Boyd, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 97APA12-1640 (Oct. 22, 1998).
- Is the withdrawal of the guilty plea the result of bad advice from the defendant’s attorney?
- Does the defendant understand what a guilty plea means, and would a withdrawal help him or her to understand the consequences better?
- Is the motion for the withdrawal of the guilty plea simply a tactic to allow for the defendant to stall delaying sentencing?
- Does the defendant say he is innocent, and will the withdrawal of the guilty plea allow the defendant to assert his innocence at a trial?
In State v. Hartman, 2018-Ohio-4452, Defendant said he was innocent throughout the case and felt he was being given bad advice from his attorney and pressured to enter a guilty plea. The Ohio Court of Appeals considered the above factors. The Court found having to go to trial rather than allowing the guilty plea to remain was only minor inconvenience to the state. The Court vacated Defendant’s guilty plea and allowed him to assert his innocence at a trial.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A GUILTY PLEA IS WITHDRAWN OR TAKEN BACK?
After a guilty plea is withdrawn, the case will return to where it was at before the defendant entered a guilty plea. The defendant can attempt to negotiate a different plea offer or can set the case for a trial.
If you pleaded guilty or no contest to a crime, or are being advised to enter a guilty or no contest plea, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can determine whether a withdrawal is possible or advisable, and can guide you through the process of moving the case forward after withdrawing a guilty plea.
CHALLENGING THE ORIGINAL CHARGE IN COURT AFTER WITHDRAWING A GUILTY PLEA
Your attorney will also be able to guide you through the process of your traffic and criminal charge, and will present any possible defenses to have the case thrown out or reduced to a lesser charge in order to avoid a jail sentence as well.