201 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
575 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
231 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000
1 Farrell Place
Canberra ACT 2601
111 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
At Armstrong Legal we often have clients contact us after their matter has already been in court once or twice. Sometimes after receiving legal advice these clients decide that the plea that they entered while they were unrepresented was wrong, and they need to know if they can change it.
Changing a plea of not guilty to a plea of guilty is easy: the court knows that sometimes once an accused person has had time to think about their matter and consider the facts and perhaps the brief of evidence they decide to change their plea to guilty. This can be done at any court date before the matter is heard and decided by the Magistrate.
It can be much harder to change a plea of guilty to a plea of not guilty, because if your plea of guilty was accepted by the court, it is considered to be an admission by you of all of the elements of the offence charged, which takes away the need for the prosecution to prove your guilt.
Changing a plea of guilty to a plea of not guilty requires providing the court with evidence of why the guilty plea is being withdrawn. If you can satisfy the Magistrate that there would be a “miscarriage of justice” if the matter proceeded to sentence on your plea of guilty, then you will be allowed to withdraw your guilty plea.
Some reasons that have been accepted by courts in allowing accused persons to withdraw pleas of guilty are:
(R v Van (2002) NSWCCA 148 at )
If you think you have entered the wrong plea it is important that you get legal advice about your options and the best way to proceed with your matter. The criminal lawyers at Armstrong Legal have experience advising about pleas and changing them when required and will be able to help you get the best outcome for your matter.
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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100