Can I Get Out of My Plea of Guilty to DUI in Jacksonville?

Person drinking a beer while driving

This question often arises after a person has plead guilty to DUI in their first appearance, or what is called J1 in Jacksonville, Florida. A person arrested is required to be brought in front of a Judge within 24 hours. This is called the J1 hearing. The Judge will review the arrest report for probable cause and make a determination on bail. People arrested on misdemeanors are also provided the opportunity to plea guilty and be sentenced immediately. There is a prosecutor and public defender present.

When it comes to DUIs though, the consequences are often extensive and difficult to specifically articulate to a client who may have just spent 12 hours in jail for the first time in their lives. They are afraid, tired, hungry and often is a bit of shock and daze. 

For a first time offender, this can be a very intimidating situation and without proper legal advice can lead to unnecessarily harsh plea deals and convictions that will stay on your records forever. 

So can you withdraw a plea of guilty to DUI

You can absolutely try. 

The Law on Withdrawing a Plea of Guilty in Jacksonville, Florida

Rule 3.170(f) Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, provides that “The court may in its discretion, and shall on good cause, at any time before a sentence, permit a plea of guilty or no contest to be withdrawn and, if judgment of conviction has been entered thereon, set aside the judgment and allow a plea of not guilty, or, with the consent of the prosecuting attorney, allow a plea of guilty or no contest of a lesser included offense, or of a lesser degree of the offense charged, to be substituted for the plea of guilty or no contest.” 

A plea of guilty should be entirely voluntary and should not be induced by fear, misapprehension or persuasion. Even the slightest undue motivation should invalidate a guilty plea.

Factors Considered in Your Argument to Withdraw a Plea 

  • Lacked capacity to make an informed and voluntary decision with regard to the plea and the waiver of rights 
  • Impaired by the fact that at the time of his hearing he/she had not eaten or slept for a substantial period of time
  • Had not had an opportunity to adequately confer with counsel
  • Had not received a copy of the Arrest and Booking Report with the stated allegations or any related DUI reports 
  • Was not informed of the exonerating or mitigating evidence contained in any reports 
  • Had not had a chance to confront any witnesses
  • Did not understand the legal issues presented in the video presentation
  • Was under duress for fear that his/her employment may be affected
  • Has no criminal record and therefore no experience in the criminal justice system

If You Have Questions Regarding a DUI or Any Other Criminal Matter

Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at  904-209-4883.