Being accused of a crime can be a frightening time in anyone’s life. The prosecution wastes no time making the case against you, and everyone charging you is an expert in the law. One mistake or false accusation can quickly become a complicated issue.
When the prosecution offers you a plea deal, your first instinct might be to take it. You have a chance to put the whole mess behind you and under conditions that seem easier than if the court finds you guilty. When you plead guilty, however, you may be forfeiting your chance to appeal.
Here’s what you need to know about how a guilty plea can get in the way of your appeal.
Can I undo my plea?
In most cases, if you have made a plea of “guilty,” you will not be able to move forward with an appeal unless making a motion to withdraw your plea.
If you make your plea before the court imposes a sentence, you may do so for any “fair and just reason.” If the judge accepted your plea and gave you a sentence, withdrawing your plea can only happen under limited circumstances, including:
- Not receiving concessions from a plea deal
- The plea was made because of promises or threats made off-the-record
- Misunderstanding of terms
- Denied effective assistance of legal counsel
- Plea was involuntary
A guilty plea can impact the rest of your life, depending on the charges. Often, a guilty plea can stand in the way of employment and other opportunities and privileges.
What if I still want to appeal?
Unfortunately, you cannot withdraw your plea simply because you regret the choice, or you think your chances would be better at trial. In most cases, a guilty plea will keep you from moving forward with an appeal.
Before you accept a plea deal, it is essential to talk to a legal professional about your rights and options. Agreeing to a plea deal could impact your options in the future.