Posted on 9/12/22

Have you already pled guilty to a criminal charge while under pressure but regret doing so? If so, you are not alone. Many defendants are overwhelmed when interrogated by the police and find themselves agreeing to a guilty plea but later regretting that decision. Withdrawing a guilty plea is possible when you do so before you’ve been sentenced. Withdrawing a guilty plea is not an automatic right. It is a matter of timing, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you.

Withdrawing a Plea During a Jury Trial

If you pled guilty to one criminal charge but not on a second one, you could change your plea for the first one. However, you only have a limited amount of time to do so. You can change your plea to the first charge before the jury retires to deliberate. Once the prosecution finishes its closing argument, the jury disappears into the deliberation room. Tell your attorney as soon as possible if you would like to change your plea.

Withdrawing a Plea During a Negotiated Plea

If you have negotiated a plea deal, you have the right to withdraw your guilty plea at any time before your sentencing. You can still withdraw your guilty plea if you sign the paperwork and receive admonishment about your waiver of rights. However, if the court accepts your plea, states your sentence, and signs the judgment, you cannot change your plea. You have a better opportunity to withdraw from a negotiated plea if you change your heart while the docket is ongoing. Your defense attorney can attempt to inform the judge that you have had a change of heart and would like a trial. 

Withdrawing a Plea During a Sentencing Hearing

For those who have pled “open,” your case will be reset for a sentencing hearing. In this scenario, you will not enter into a plea bargain with the prosecutor, but you still plead guilty. The goal is to get the judge for punishment and a better deal than the prosecution offered. You will typically be reset for up to three months to give the probation department enough time to create an investigation report. 

During this time, you may change your decision to plead guilty, but at this point, it is difficult to undo your plea. Once a judge “takes a plea under advisement,” the judge will have complete discretion as to whether it will allow a defendant to withdraw his or her plea before the sentencing hearing. It is difficult to undo a guilty plea at this point, however. When a judge takes the plea under advisement, they have discretion on whether to allow a defendant to withdraw the plea.

Discuss Your Legal Options With a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime in Texas, you will benefit from working with an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Abel Law Firm can help you. Discussing your case with an attorney is crucial if you have pled guilty and would like to change your plea. Contact Abel Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation. 

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