About Pleas

Under our system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of not guilty, a formal trial is held. As in all criminal trials, the State is required to prove the guilt of a defendant "beyond a reasonable doubt" of the offense charged in the complaint before a defendant can be found guilty by a judge or jury.

Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. Please consider each plea carefully before making a decision. If you plead guilty or no contest, you should be prepared to pay the fines and court costs. The court will inform you regarding fine payment requirements.

Plea of Guilty

By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged and that the act is prohibited by law, and that you have no defense or excuse for your act. Before entering your plea of guilty, you should understand that a plea of guilty may be used against you in a civil suit.

For example, if there was a traffic accident, another party can say you were at fault or responsible for the accident because you plead guilty to the traffic charge.

Plea of Nolo Contendere (No Contest)

A plea of no contest means you do not contest the charge against you. You will almost certainly be found guilty, unless you are eligible and successfully complete a court approved driving safety course and/or a court approved deferred disposition. A plea of nolo contendere cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages.

Plea of Not Guilty

A plea of not guilty means 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. You will need to decide whether to hire an attorney to represent you. You are not required to hire an attorney to represent you. You may represent yourself. If you represent yourself, the following section on Trials will help you to understand trial procedure.