Let's assume you were arrested for the California crime of DUI. For whatever reason, you decided to plead guilty or no contest to the charge. Perhaps you didn't want to take time away from work or school to fight the charge. Perhaps you just wanted to put the case behind you. Or perhaps your attorney negotiated a plea bargain to a felony DUI instead of a manslaughter charge even though you caused an accident that killed another person. Whatever the circumstances, you felt like you were getting a break and entered a plea. You later learned that your plea included DUI penalties that you were unaware of at the time of your plea…penalties that, had you known about, are so significant that you wouldn't have pled. When this is the case, you can file a motion to withdraw a plea.
California law provides that under certain circumstances, you may successfully withdraw a plea. These include (but are not limited to):
- discovering that there are consequences that you were unaware of at the time of the plea (losing your professional license or facing deportation),
- the fact that you were represented by an incompetent attorney who didn't properly investigate your case and simply urged you to plead, or
- the fact that you were coerced into pleading guilty when you truly did not wish to do so.
If any of these situations apply to you, you should immediately contact a skilled California criminal defense attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a motion to withdraw your plea. (Refer to our article, "Can a California DUI conviction be removed from my record?")