Being charged with committing a crime can be stressful and scary. With potentially severe punishments, finding ways to get out of the situation is always a top priority, especially if you haven’t had previous run-ins with the law. Individuals who may not be fully aware of their criminal options or are unaware of how the criminal justice system operates are often coerced into entering a guilty plea to get their charges reduced, even if they know they didn’t partake in the criminal act.
While pleading guilty could make sense to accept a lower punishment, there are situations where you may end up regretting your choice. In these situations, you may choose to fight your case in court rather than accepting the plea deal and related punishment, but this can be difficult to do once you’ve already entered a guilty plea. Several factors could determine whether or not you can take back your plea.
Informed of Your Rights
One factor that will help determine if you can withdraw your plea is if the arresting officers followed protocol. Defendants are required by law read there three rights before the court accepts a guilty plea. As a defendant, you have:
- The right to a trial by jury
- The right to confront accusers
- The privilege against self-incrimination
Before entering a guilty plea, the defendant must knowingly and voluntarily waive these rights. If you were not informed of these rights, your request to withdraw a guilty plea will likely be granted. However, a simple change of heart will likely be insufficient in getting a withdrawal request granted.
Special Considerations for Plea Withdrawals
People often enter a guilty plea simply because they were ill-advised and in some cases, not advised at all. It works in your favor to acquire private legal counsel who can make you aware of all of your criminal defense options before you enter a plea and point out instances of potential wrongdoing.
For example, if you faced pressure from any party while making your plea or you weren’t given proper access to legal counsel before entering a plea, your defense attorney can make a case to have your plea withdrawn
Louisiana law also allows defendants to withdraw a guilty plea to a felony if it was made within 48 hours of the defendant’s arrest. If the plea was accepted during that 2-day period, the courts provide the defendant 30 days to withdraw the plea, allowing the court to set it aside.
Benefit of Having a Louisiana Criminal Defense Lawyer
Due to the complexities of the law, you should always make sure that you have informed legal counsel on your side when facing criminal charges. They not only can help you make an informed decision regarding which plea you choose to enter, but they can also serve as your legal representation if you decide to take your case to trial.
Eric G. Johnson of the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, LLC is a seasoned Louisiana criminal defense lawyer who has experience skillfully representing individuals facing a variety charges. Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or criminal charges, it is vital that you have someone protecting your best interest every step of the way. Contact us today at 318-377-1555 for a free case evaluation.