State v. Zubiena, ___ N.C. App. ___, 796 S.E.2d 40 (Dec. 30, 2016)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s post-sentence motion to withdraw her guilty plea. On appeal the defendant argued that the trial court erred by denying her motion because the plea agreement and plea colloquy contained no indication that a fine would be imposed as part of her punishment. In fact a fine of $1000 was imposed. The court noted that under G.S. 15A-1024, if at the time of sentencing a judge decides to impose a sentence other than that provided for in a plea arrangement, the judge must inform the defendant of that fact and inform the defendant that he may withdraw the plea. If however the sentence imposed is consistent with the plea agreement, the defendant is entitled to withdraw his plea after sentencing only upon a showing of manifest injustice. Here, the plea agreement specified only three things: the crime to which the defendant would plead guilty; the charges that would be dismissed; and the defendant’s prior record level and number of prior record level points. The plea agreement did not contain any specific terms regarding the sentence. Thus, the court found itself unable to conclude that the trial court imposed a sentence other than that provided for in the plea arrangement. Having determined that the sentence was not inconsistent with the plea agreement and that the defendant was not entitled to relief under G.S. 15A-1024 the court went on to conclude that no manifest injustice supported granting the post-sentence motion to withdraw the guilty plea. Here, the defendant provided no specific reason in support of her motion to withdraw, except that she had decided she would like to take her case to trial.