Can I Withdraw a Guilty Plea After Sentencing in Wisconsin?

Often, the stress of a criminal case can cause a defendant to hastily enter an ill-advised guilty plea. Sometimes, they are pressured by their attorneys, the State, or families to enter a guilty plea, even if they don’t want to do so.

Defendants who enter guilty pleas hastily or against their better judgment may come to regret their decision to do so. Under limited circumstances, a defendant may withdraw his or her guilty plea after he or she has been sentenced.

Wisconsin case law allows the withdrawal of a guilty plea after sentencing only when the withdrawal is “necessary to correct a manifest injustice.” White v. State, 271 N.W.2d 97, 85 Wis. 2d 485 (1978). Situations in which a Wisconsin court may find that a manifest injustice occurred include those where:

1. The defendant did not knowingly and voluntarily enter the plea

2. The defendant did not receive the charge or sentence concessions discussed in the plea agreement

3. A person not authorized to act on the defendant’s behalf entered the plea

See State v. Reppin, 35 Wis.2d 377, 385-86, 151 N.W.2d 9 (1967). Importantly, showing manifest injustice requires a high burden of proof that is often difficult to meet. If there is manifest injustice, however, you may have the option of filing a motion to withdraw your guilty plea in the circuit court out of which the judgment was issued.

To speak with a knowledgeable attorney about the possibility of withdrawing your guilty plea, contact The Alderman Law Firm today for your free consultation by calling 720-588-3529 (CO) or 608-620-3529 (WI).