Should I Challenge My Guilty Plea?

The major distinction between challenging a guilty plea and a trial verdict in North Carolina is the risk. In North Carolina, you are protected by the law from receiving a worse sentence if you vacate your trial verdict and get a new trial or a new sentence. If you succeed in vacating your guilty plea, however, you are not protected from receiving a worse sentence. You are, in effect, having the case start from zero, and in so doing you give the prosecutor discretion to re-prosecute the case however he or she sees fit.


Consequently, it is critically important that your post conviction attorney accurately advise you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case before you decide on officially filing a motion for appropriate relief to vacate your guilty plea. You want to know that the odds are in your favor that your case will result in a better sentence if your attorney succeeds in overturning your plea. 

One last thing I want to emphasize here is that there is no risk to reviewing your case and then potentially talking to the district attorney about any concerns your attorney has with your case. I do this all the time and again, there is no risk to it. The place where the risk arises is if we decide to officially file the motion for appropriate relief. Once we file it, we are then officially asking the court to set aside the guilty plea, and if we win, giving room for the prosecutor to approach the case a second time around. 

You need an attorney familiar with post conviction strategy and the strengths and weaknesses of a post conviction case to advise you well on whether your plea should be challenged. If you or a loved one has questions about a guilty plea entered in North Carolina, contact our office today for a thirty minute consultation.