When is a defendant allowed to withdraw a plea?

In the state of Florida, the constraints on withdrawing a plea are twofold. Number one, jurisdictionally, the motion to withdraw a plea has to be filed within 30 days of the plea being entered, so that’s the first hurdle and, probably, the most common hurdle. The second hurdle, in terms of withdrawing a plea, is is there a legal basis to do so? In order to attack a plea, there are a number of either consequences or specific legal rights that can be addressed in the course of that motion. Far and away, the most common way that a plea is attacked is if the judge fails to ensure that the plea is entered knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily. If we can attack any of those bases, and that’s generally something that comes up in the course of the plea itself, then we may well be able to have a plea withdrawn.

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