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When is it possible to appeal after making a guilty plea?


When is it possible to appeal after making a guilty plea?

On behalf of Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law | 
June 20, 2019

Sometimes, pleading guilty might seem like the easy way out of criminal charges. And there are plenty of attorneys who might encourage their clients to plead guilty, claiming that there will be fewer consequences.

However, pleading guilty waives an individual’s right to due process and a trial in front of a jury of their peers. It is possible to appeal a conviction after a guilty plea, but it is critical for individuals to understand their rights in these situations, as well as when it is possible to appeal.

1. First, it could be possible to withdraw your plea

In some cases, it is possible for individuals to withdraw their plea. They must inform the judge in writing why they changed their plea.

However, they must also have good cause to withdraw it, such as:

  • They did not understand the charges against them
  • No one informed them of their Constitutional rights when facing criminal charges
  • There is no evidence that the guilty plea is truthful or factual

Without good cause, it might not be possible to withdraw the plea.

2. You had ineffective assistance of counsel

Individuals who pled guilty can also appeal their case if they believe they had ineffective assistance of counsel. Everyone has a Constitutional right to effective counsel when facing criminal charges. Therefore, individuals have the right to appeal if they did not receive effective counsel.

Some signs of ineffective assistance of counsel include if the attorney:

  • Was not professional or misinformed the individual
  • Filed paperwork and notices after deadlines
  • Barely contacted the individual or discussed the charges
  • Made critical decisions without the individual’s input
  • Pressured someone to take a deal that was not in their best interests

If the attorney did not provide someone with good counsel at the plea-bargaining stage or explain someone’s options, then the individual could appeal their conviction if they pled guilty.

3. New evidence is recovered in the case

It is always possible to appeal a case as well if someone pled guilty to a crime they did not commit. And if investigations uncover new evidence that proves they were not involved in the crime, they can file an appeal.

However, this also applies to individuals who discover that police or prosecutors obtained evidence against them illegally.

Individuals can appeal these kinds of cases through a writ of habeas corpus, which allows them to make their argument for an appeal to a judge.

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