Withdrawing a Guilty Plea in Illinois
Withdrawing a guilty plea in Illinois is not something that is easily done. The United States Supreme Court has held that entering into a guilty plea is a “grave and solemn act” that is not a “temporary and meaningless formality that is not reversible at the defendant’s whim.” Entering into a guilty plea is your decision to make not your attorneys. An attorney’s job is to advise the pros and cons of pleading guilty or not guilty.
When Can You File a Motion to Withdraw a Guilty Plea?
Withdrawing a guilty plea in Illinois begins with the filing of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea. The motion seeking to withdraw your guilty plea must be filed with the court that took the guilty plea. The motion to withdraw your guilty plea must list all the reasons why you want to withdraw your guilty plea.
A court will grant a motion to withdraw a guilty plea only to correct a manifest injustice. A manifest injustice occurs warranting withdrawing a guilty plea in Illinois only when the guilty plea was not given in a knowing and intelligent manner.
Withdrawing a Guilty Plea Based Upon a Lack of a Knowing and Intelligent Guilty Plea
Withdrawing a guilty plea based upon a lack of a knowing and intelligent guilty plea typically occurs under one of two circumstances. The first circumstance occurs when the defendant does not know the consequences of the guilty plea before pleading guilty. The second major circumstance occurs when the quid pro quo of the guilty plea doesn’t materialize. What that means is withdrawing a guilty plea maybe possible if the defendant’s reasonable belief that the punishment he or she would receive after pleading guilty doesn’t occur.
To ensure a knowing and intelligent guilty plea, the Illinois Supreme Court Rules require courts to warn defendants about the rights they are giving up by pleading guilty and the consequences including the potential sentencing options they are facing by pleading guilty. The court is required to ask the defendant before accepting his or her guilty plea whether they are pleading guilty of his or her own will, whether anyone promised, threatened, or forced the defendant to plead guilty, and whether they understand the maximum and minimum sentences that are available. The court will also tell the defendant the method of withdrawing a guilty plea in Illinois.
What If I Wasn’t Warned About the Consequences of Pleading Guilty?
Withdrawing a guilty plea in Illinois becomes significantly easier if it is a based upon a claim that the judge did not properly warn you about the rights and consequences of pleading guilty. However, inadequate warnings alone do not always result in victory on a direct appeal or in your motion to withdraw a guilty plea. Instead, the main issue in a motion to withdraw a guilty plea is whether the guilty plea was voluntarily given knowing the rights and consequences of pleading guilty.
Illinois courts have held that a guilty plea is voluntary if the defendant knows about the direct consequences of the guilty plea. A direct consequence of the guilt plea is only the punishment that the court can impose. The court does not need to warn individuals about collateral consequences, which are the penalties that may be imposed by other entities on the person.
Collateral consequences include the suspension of a person’s driver’s license as a result of pleading guilty to an Illinois DUI. In Illinois DUI cases, a judge is only required to tell a person the criminal penalties for the DUI but not the penalties that the Secretary of State will impose.
Once a guilty plea is entered into it is very difficult to undue. As such, pleading guilty to any charge should be done only after a full consultation with an experienced criminal appeals attorney. Furthermore, collateral consequences are a very serious ramification of a guilty plea and any knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will fully explain not only the direct consequences of a guilty plea but also the collateral consequences that will surely follow.
If you have plead guilty because of bad advice or because you received ineffective assistance of counsel, contact Criminal Appeals Attorney at Jaleel Law P.C. to discuss you options that you have in withdrawing a guilty plea in Illinois.