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AJ Murray Legal Services P.C. Blog

  • Writer's pictureJoey Clavette

I regret my guilty plea – what do I do now?

It is common to imagine the justice system as an ironclad, bureaucratic machine that is unforgiving of even the smallest mistakes. The bright lights in the daunting courtroom, the relentless procedure, the Judge in his gown with the coat arms behind him—you can get an intimidating impression.  

Perhaps you received a ticket without realizing you paid the fine in full, which is now constituted as a guilty plea. But you didn’t mean to plead guilty! You just meant to pay for a ticket.

Fret not, the justice system and the people that make it up are much more forgiving than you might think, and there is a procedure for withdrawing a guilty plea. As Court of Appeal Judge, Carthy put it: “The court should not be in the position of convicting and sentencing individuals, who fall short of admitting the facts to support the conviction unless that guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt” (R. v. S.K.)

What does it take to withdraw a guilty plea?

The court will accept the withdrawal of a guilty plea if they find that a few factors have been met. These factors are set out in R. v. Malone. Some of the factors the judge will take into account are:

·       If the guilty plea was involuntary

·       If the plea was incomplete, because the defendant did not intend to admit to a fact central to the charge

·       If the Defendant misunderstood the affect of the guilty plea or,

·       If the Defendant never intended to plea guilty at all

If any of those factors apply to you, you might have a case. In addition to the above, it also needs to be shown that upholding the plea would be unfair and that you have a potentially viable defense.

How do I go about getting my conviction overturned?

An appeal needs to be made in order to get your guilty plea withdrawn. Filing a proper appeal is not simple, so it is best that you hire a legal professional to ensure you have the most rock-solid case. Give our office a call if you need help appealing a guilty plea that you think can be withdrawn, and we can help you determine the merits of your appeal.

About the Author

Joey Clavette

Licensed Paralegal and Notary Public

AJ Murray Legal Services P.C


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