Motion to Withdraw Plea Defense Attorneys
If you are innocent and you were pressured to enter a guilty or a no-contest plea or if you’ve pleaded with an unfavorable plea bargain, consult with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. regarding your options.
We May Be Able to Give you a Second Chance
We often receive calls from prospective clients who are concerned about their current legal representation. Frequently, criminal defense attorneys are afraid to go to trial or are not zealous enough to find a viable defense for their clients. When an innocent person is pressured into a plea or someone is forced to accept a plea bargain or sentence agreement that is not in their best interest, they look for help from a more experienced, resourceful, and passionate criminal defense attorney.
It is fair to say that judges are very reluctant to allow a defendant to withdraw his or her plea. When a defendant has entered a plea to a crime for which they were not guilty or in cases where a defendant has pleaded guilty or no-contest to a misdemeanor or felony with an unfavorable plea or sentence bargain, filing a Motion to Withdraw Plea may be the only option.
Legal Basis to Withdraw a Plea (the law)
It is well recognized that a guilty plea is the most serious step a defendant can take in a criminal prosecution. For that reason, the plea “not only must be voluntary but must be knowing, intelligent ac[t] done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences” (Brady v. United States). Motions to withdraw a plea should be granted in the interests of justice, although there is no absolute right to withdraw a plea once it is accepted (State of Michigan v. Gomer).
For a plea to be knowing and intelligent, the Defendant must understand the potential consequences of a plea (State of Michigan v. Schluter). Not only must a guilty plea be voluntary, but it must also be a knowing and intelligent act done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences” (State of Michigan v. Thew).
When moving to withdraw a plea before sentence is imposed, a defendant must show that withdrawal of the plea is in the interest of justice by articulating a fair and just reason for withdrawal of the plea (MCR 6.310(B); State of Michigan v. Wilhite). If the defendant carries his burden of showing that the withdrawal of the plea is in the interests of justice, the prosecution must establish that withdrawal of the plea would result in substantial prejudice by showing that its ability to prosecute the case would be hampered.
Michigan law says that where a defendant claims innocence or has a valid defense to the charge he has pleaded to, the Court should strongly consider granting the motion to withdraw plea (State of Michigan v. Wilhite). It has been held to be an abuse of discretion in denying the Defendant’s motion to withdraw a plea where the defendant had established that the interests of justice would be served thereby and the prosecution failed to establish substantial prejudice would result from the withdrawal (State of Michigan v. Jackson).
Why would someone plead guilty when they are innocent?
Defendants plead guilty to charges even though they are innocent for a variety of reasons. If witnesses are lying and there is no proof the defendant is innocent, he or she may agree to enter a plea in an effort to avoid jail or prison. Taking a case through a jury trial can be nerve-wracking and stressful. If a person charged with a crime cannot emotionally handle a trial, a plea may be the only way to avoid the trauma of a trial. Bargain lawyers, court-appointed attorneys, and general practice retained lawyers notoriously take measures to manipulate clients into entering guilty and no-contest pleas. A conviction can be life-changing in an awful way, but these lawyers never expect to see the client again, so who cares? Right? This is NOT okay! At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we will never suggest you enter a plea when you are innocent. If you want lawyers who will fearlessly fight to protect and defend you, our Defense Team is your best hope.
We Can Help You Withdraw Your Plea
As you can see, there is a wealth of Michigan law that supports the withdrawal of a plea under the right circumstances. The process is complicated and great resistance is common from the prosecution and the court. Furthermore, withdrawing a plea is a major step in a case and there are always important advantages and disadvantages to be carefully weighed and considered. If you need a fighter to consult with you regarding the potential withdrawal of a plea, please do not hesitate to call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.