Pleading guilty is never the best outcome when you're charged with a crime—obviously being found not guilty or getting your case dismissed is the best outcome.
But sometimes pleading guilty makes sense and may be the best outcome in your case. This is especially true if the State is offering a favorable plea bargain (i.e. pleading guilty to a reduced charge) and you face a long prison sentence if you're convicted.
In Washington, your guilty plea must be knowing, voluntary, and intelligent, and there must be a factual basis to support it. This is your right to due process under the law. This means basically the following:
- You have to understand the charge against you
- You have to understand the consequences of pleading guilty
- You can't be coerced into pleading guilty
- The evidence must support your plea
The Court cannot accept your guilty plea unless the judge can made these findings on the record.
FAQ: Withdrawing Your Guilty Plea in Washington
What is the procedure for filing a motion to withdraw your guilty plea?
Can you file a motion to withdraw your plea before you are sentenced?
Can you file a motion to withdraw your plea after you are sentenced?