Petition To Set Aside Plea In Criminal Case

You got arrested, hauled to the station and faced hours of interrogation.  At first, the criminal charges and the evidence against you appeared daunting and the prosecutor made it sound as if they had a strong case.  In all the confusion, you didn’t think to ask for a lawyer and agreed to a plea bargain but after having time to think about the whole situation you realized that was a mistake.  What do you do now?  You need to hire an attorney that is knowledgeable in submitting petitions to set aside plea agreements.    

The process required to withdraw a guilty plea in the state of Michigan is complex; it’s difficult to accomplish because judges are generally reluctant to grant the motion to change or withdraw a plea.  By law, the defendant needs to have full knowledge of the circumstances and the resulting consequences before voluntarily agreeing to a plea agreement.  If that’s not the case, and the person in custody was coerced or misled to enter a plea of guilty; a motion to set aside plea may be granted in certain criminal cases if correctly submitted in a timely manner by a post-trial attorney.

Before a judge determines if a petition to set aside plea should be granted, they look at several factors pertaining to the case.  They’ll decide if the defendant can legitimately claim innocence and if the plea agreement was fair.  Any motives behind the request and if allowing the defendant to change their plea could lead to an unfair result or be a disadvantage for the prosecution.  The amount of time between the plea and a request for its withdraw is also a factor, generally the shorter the time in between, the better chance the defendant has.      

A defendant can take back their plea if a judge hasn’t accepted it yet or if the judge rejects the agreement pursuant to which the defendant pleaded.  If the agreement was made without counsel, counsel was denied, the counsel entered a guilty plea on their client’s behalf and without their knowledge or consent, or the counsel failed to advise their client of the crucial ramifications they may face, in these cases the plea agreement can be rejected.  If the judge participated too much in the negotiations or the defendant stands a good chance at trial, a petition to set aside a plea agreement could be granted.   

Legalquest Network serves the cities of Detroit, Dearborn, Southfield, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Sterling Heights.