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Petitions To Vacate

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.172

The Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.172 oversees Petitions to Vacate Guilty Pleas. In circumstances where a client decides to plead guilty to an unlawful offense rather than executing their right to a jury trial it will be up to a judge to make certain that the defendant's plea is voluntary as applies to this rule of criminal procedure. In some instances, at a change of plea hearing, defendants are not given the proper advice by their lawyers, thus leading them to plead guilty to misdemeanors and felonies before a time when a judge has asked them if their plea has been submitted voluntarily. A plea of guilty to such crimes can result in several adverse consequences once it is acknowledged. These consequences can include the right to vote, own a weapon, obtain a driver's license or have it revoked, as well as the possibility of civil commitment after a jail sentence in certain sex offenses. Other penalties can be the right among others to legally remain in the United States after a plea to a felony relating to moral turpitude, or in the case of a misdemeanor concerning domestic violence. Many attorneys are unacquainted with the fact that guilty pleas which result in adjudication being withheld under state law (non-convictions) are yet considered a conviction for federal purposes although they may consider that no conviction would be enacted in such cases.

These are regrettably errors that must be rectified. A practiced attorney who is hired by a client to correct the mistake of a former lawyer needs to be aware of the time allotment or limitation period which threatens the client who has already plead guilty before any supplementary reprieve is obtainable.

My office has handled many of these so called ineffective assistance of counsel claims concerning petitions to vacate guilty pleas; the law in this area is changing quickly; I have argued such a case before the Florida Supreme Court (State v, Green, which concerned required deportation warnings at change of plea hearings). Recently the United States Supreme Court imposed an affirmative duty upon lawyers to advise their clients of the deportation consequences of the client's guilty plea in the case of Padilla v. Kentucky; A skilled defense lawyer must be aware of these so called collateral consequences of guilty pleas to avoid any future problems for their clients or to be able to correct previous mistakes by filing Petitions to Vacate Guilty Pleas for their clients who have been effected by previous failures to warn them about these collateral consequences by previous counsel.

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When you need an experienced and committed defense lawyer you can trust in Southern Florida, contact the criminal defense law firm of Michael B. Cohen, P.A. online or call 954.928.0059 or 561.366.8200.

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