Withdrawing a guilty plea is not an automatic right, but if you can prove that you did not plead guilty voluntarily or intelligently, you may be able to withdraw your guilty plea. In some cases, it may be possible to seek post-conviction plea withdrawal if your criminal defense attorney did not advise or incorrectly advised you, including about immigration consequences.
Pleading guilty to a crime has serious consequences. You should be well informed on the rights you are giving up and the consequences you will have by pleading guilty. In many cases it may be too late to withdraw a guilty plea, but you do have a right to withdraw a guilty plea if certain circumstances exist. For example, you may have the right to withdraw a guilty plea if the Court has not sentenced you yet, or if there was a defect in your plea that deems it invalid. Under the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Padilla v. Kentucky, a criminal defense attorney is required to advise you of immigration consequences. If you were not advised, you may be eligible to seek withdrawal of your guilty plea. An attorney may determine that the duration of your sentence or level of conviction is problematic for your immigration case, and a motion to modify your sentence may be necessary. Be aware that the law sets forth strict deadlines for plea withdrawal and changes to criminal sentences, so if you have a question about the legality and impact of your guilty plea, sentence, or conviction, do not wait to speak to an attorney, or you may be losing a valuable right.