Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. Please consider each plea carefully before making a decision.
Plea of Guilty
By a plea of Guilty, you admit that the act is prohibited by law, that you committed the act charged, and that you have no defense or excuse for your act. Before entering your plea of Guilty you should understand the following:
- The State has the burden of proving that you violated the law (the law does not require that you prove you did not violate the law);
- You have the right to hear the State’s evidence and to require the State to prove you violated the law; and,
- If you were involved in a traffic accident at the time of the alleged offense, your plea of guilty could be used later in a civil suit for damages as an admission that you were at fault or were the party responsible for the accident.
Plea of Nolo Contendere (No Contest)
A plea of No Contest means that you do not contest the State’s charge against you. You will almost certainly be found guilty, unless you are eligible and successfully complete a driving safety course and/or court-ordered probation. A plea of No Contest cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit.
Note: A plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” and a waiver of a Jury trial may be entered by mail before the court date. You should be prepared to pay your fine upon entering a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere.”
Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of Not Guilty means that you are informing the court that you deny guilt or that you have a defense in your case, and that the State must prove what it has charged against you.
If you plea not guilty, you have the right to a trial by Judge or Jury. You will need to decide whether to employ an attorney to represent you at trial. You may defend yourself, but no one except a lawyer may represent you.
All proceedings will be conducted according to the rules of criminal procedure and the rules of evidence. If you choose to represent yourself, you must be prepared. The court staff, bailiff, prosecuting attorney or Judge cannot act as your attorney by providing legal advice or legal assistance in the presentation of your case.
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