Penal Code section 1018 permits a defendant to move to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest at any time before judgment or within six months after an order granting probation is made (if entry of judgment is suspended) for good cause shown. According to the California Court of Appeal, “good cause” is shown if the defendant establishes he acted in “mistake, ignorance, inadvertence or for any other factor overreaching a defendant’s free and clear judgment.” (People v. Griffin (1950) 100 Cal. App. 2d 546). Other factors that may be considered good cause for relief under this section include pleas entered by fraud or under duress. (Id. at page 1208).
As stated in the express language of Penal Code section 1018, there are strict timing requirements to filing a motion pursuant to Section 1018. A motion pursuant to this section must be made either: (1) before judgment or (2) within six months after an order granting probation is made if entry of judgment is suspended.
If a motion is made pursuant to this section by a defendant who appeared without counsel at the time of the plea, the court “shall” allow the defendant to withdraw his plea and substitute a plea of not guilty. When a motion is made by a defendant who was represented by counsel at the time of the plea, the court “may” permit the defendant to withdraw his plea and enter a plea of not guilty.
The burden is on the defendant to show by clear and convincing evidence that good cause exists to afford the requested relief. (People v. Griffin (1950) 100 Cal. App. 2d 546). A plea may not be withdrawn because the defendant has changed his mind. (People v. Huricks (1995) 32 Cal. App. 4th 1201).