Withdrawal of guilty DUI plea

September 20, 2015

Withdrawal of guilty DUI pleaYour Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney or Los Angeles DUI Attorney can help you get your DUI conviction thrown.  One way to do it is based on California Penal Code section 1018.  Los Angeles drunk driving attorney in our office will help you decide if you can win a motion to withdraw your guilty DUI plea.  So call Los Angeles DUI and Criminal Defense attorney now to get helpful advice.

PC 1018

California Penal Code section 1018 can be used for criminal cases that are not sentenced and for cases where the sentencing was less than 6 months ago.  So, if it has been less than 6 months since you were placed on probation by the Court and you know that your guilty plea was a mistake, call our Los Angeles DUI attorneys for a free consultation.  We can provide a quality affordable defense to you for Los Angeles DUI charges even after you plead guilty.  California Penal Code section 1018 may also be used to withdraw your guilty plea in a Los Angles DUI if you were not represented by counsel.  Often, Los Angeles DUI pleas are accepted without the defendants having a chance to talk to a Los Angles DUI lawyer first.  For example, many defendants in the Metropolitan Branch of Los Angeles Superior Court, located at 1945 S. Hill Street, plead guilty without talking to a DUI attorney first.  Los Angeles DUI lawyer should review the facts of your DUI case and decide if there are any defenses that be used to get a dismissal of your Los Angeles DUI case.  A motion to withdraw a guilty DUI plea must be granted if a California Penal Code section 1018 motion is filed within 6 months of sentencing and there is a good cause.  Even in cases where you had a DUI lawyer with you, you might feel that you made a mistake and your guilty plea was a mistake or based on ignorance.  If you are dealing with the consequences of a DUI, call our office so that we can talk you through the steps needed to withdraw your guilty or no-contest Los Angeles DUI plea.


Often, a motion for a withdrawal of a DUI plea in Los Angles under Penal Code section 1018 is filed by Los Angeles DUI attorney with a declaration explaining the reasons for “mistake or other grounds that overcame defendant free judgment”.  In addition to the declaration, this motion includes a memorandum of points and authorities where the Los Angeles DUI Attorney explains to the Judge the reason the plea must be withdrawn.  The judge must give “liberal construction” to Penal Code section 1018.  That means that the judge where you were sentenced must resolve any factual disputes in the defendant’s favor.  For example, in a Court of Appeals decision in People v. Mitchell the court concluded that courts need to be “liberal” in permitting defendants to withdraw pleas, especially in cases where there is doubt about the defendant’s guilt (see People v. Mitchell (Super. 1955) 134 Cal. App.2d Supp. 912).  The reasons for granting the motion to withdraw the guilty Los Angeles DUI plea under Penal Code section 1018 must be based on some factor that overcame the “exercise of free judgment”.  One example is a declaration in support that shows how the defendant was influenced to plead guilty.  The courts by law must look for mistakes, ignorance, fraud, or inadvertence; but these reasons are not exclusive and a Los Angles DUI guilty plea can be reversed when you plead guilty because you believed that a guilty plea would benefit your co-defendant.

The standard of proof in Penal Code section 1018 motions is “clear and convincing” evidence.  The burden of proof is on you to show that your “free will” was overcome and you pleaded guilty because of “mistake, ignorance” or other similar grounds.  Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney and/or Los Angeles DUI Attorney in the past argued that the trial attorney’s failure to investigate the defenses in a case or failure to advise of the immigration consequences is a good reason to vacate the conviction and by withdrawing the guilty DUI plea.   Other examples include fraud, inadvertence, or duress as reasons to win a motion to withdraw your Los Angeles DUI plea.


The last requirement for withdrawal of a guilty DUI plea under Penal Code section 1018 is prejudice.  You have to show that you are affected by the guilty plea.  This can be shown if you are losing your job, being deported from the United States, or having some other bad consequences happen to you.  In the case of People v. Hunt, the court said that denial of a motion to withdraw a plea when there is evidence that the defense counsel was ignorant of the law or facts or he was incompetent, is an abuse of discretion.  When the court says something is an abuse of discretion, they will usually reverse the conviction.

The term “abuse of discretion” is used in court as a standard of review of the 1018 motion.  This standard is based on statute (PC 1018).  When the violated right is not statutory but constitutional, the standard of review used by the court is “independent review”.  Independent review is a much better standard to have for the defendant, however, it cannot be used for PC 1018 motions.

For that reason, often Los Angeles DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys try to bring a motion under Penal Code 1473.7.  The standard of review for PC 1473.7 is much better for the defendants. The best standard to review is “de novo” but it is hard to convince a court that “de novo” standard should be used.  The best way to set up a case for a “de novo” review is to use declarations thus taking the court’s ability to judge credibility based on testimony (Vivar).

For example, recent case law determined that a defendant does not have to have a winning argument at trial (US v. Lee) and that a reasonable probability that the defendant would have rejected the plea if the defendant had correctly understood its actual or potential immigration consequences.” (People v. Vivar (2021) 11 Cal.5th 510, 529 (Vivar); People v. Espinoza (2023) 14 Cal.5th 311, 316 (Espinoza).  PC 1473.7 motion is not only when there are immigration consequences, but also permits plea withdrawal in case of factual innocence.

If you were recently convicted of drunk driving in Los Angeles and have second thoughts about your conviction, please give our Los Angles Criminal Defense and Los Angeles Drunk Driving attorneys a call at (818) 921 7744.  We provide free consultation, offer payment plans, accept all forms of payments, and will provide quality defense at an affordable price.

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