Any person who is charged with criminal act must decide upon and enter a plea on or before the appearance date on your citation. Here are the three pleas you may enter:
1. No Contest (Nolo Contendre)
This plea means that you do not contest the State’s charge filed against you. With a plea of nolo contendre you will be found guilty, but it is not an admission by you that you are guilty. With this plea, it cannot be used against you in a civil suit for damages. When you enter this plea, you should be prepared to pay your fine in person or by mail.
This plea means that you are admitting that you committed the act charged, the act is against the law, and that you do not have an excuse or defense for the act. Before entering this plea, you should understand the following:
When you enter a plea of guilty, you must pay the fine either by mail or in person.
3. Not Guilty
This plea means that you deny guilt or you have a good defense in your case and that the State will have to prove what it has charged against you. If you plead not guilty, you have the right to a trial by Judge or a Jury. It is also your decision to hire an attorney to represent you in your case if you choose to do so. You do have the right to defend yourself, but if you choose to have someone else represent you only an attorney may represent you.
a) The state has the burden of proving its case against you.
b) You also have the right to hear the State’s evidence and to require it to prove its case against you.
c) If there was a traffic accident, your plea of guilty may be used against you in a civil suit for damages incurred since you are admitting you are at fault or are the party responsible for the accident.