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Can I Change My Plea in My Criminal Case?

Some people go to court and plead not guilty at their arraignment, or first appearance. This almost never prevents them from later entering a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges. A guilty plea cannot be entered, however, if the case goes to trial and a jury returns a verdict of guilty.

Many people want to know if they can change their guilty or no contest after the fact because they do not realize that the conviction will appear on their record permanently. In most cases, once a guilty plea is entered and a Judge orders a sentence, that cannot be withdrawn. If you were not properly advised of your rights and that can be proven, or there is new evidence discovered in your case that is beneficial to you, it might be allowed by the Judge. The biggest barrier to withdrawing a guilty plea is time. That must be done in the term of court in which the sentence is entered. Different courts have different terms, but that is usually not more than a few months. It is always easier to get a lawyer on the front end and deal with the case rather than hiring a lawyer afterwards and trying to undo or correct a case that has been resolved.

Also, a sentence can be modified within a year of sentencing, and conditions of probation can be modified anytime, but that does not change the conviction or take the case off the person's record.

If you have any questions about your criminal case, whether it is still pending or already resolved, feel free to contact me.