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Withdrawing a Guilty Plea


It’s not uncommon to plead guilty or no contest to a California offense and then regret it later. You may have pled guilty because you felt you had no other options or because you wanted to put the experience behind you; but now you feel like it wasn’t in your best interests. Fortunately, it may be possible to withdraw your guilty plea with the help of an experienced attorney.

Whether you can withdraw a guilty or no contest plea and how complicated the withdrawl will be depends on whether you’ve been sentenced. If you haven’t been sentenced, you can withdraw a guilty or no contest plea by demonstrating good cause.

Need quick, free advice about plea withdrawal? Email an attorney a question at with the subject line: Plea Withdrawal Question

If you’ve already been sentenced, withdrawing your guilty or no contest plea is a more complex process. Your attorney must submit a writ of habeas corpus, which can only be used to challenge issues that were not part of the trial record.

If the court approves your petition to withdraw your guilty plea or your writ of habeas corpus, you must be prepared to stand trial or negotiate a new plea bargain. Talk to your lawyer to help determine your best course of action.

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