Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of not guilty, a trial is held. As in all criminal trials, the State must prove the guilt of a defendant “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the offense charged in the complaint before the defendant can be found guilty by a judge or jury.
Plea of Guilty
By a plea of guilty, you admit that the act is prohibited by law and that you committed the act charged. Before entering your plea of guilty, however, you should understand the following:
Plea of Nolo Contendere (No Contest)
A plea of nolo contendere 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 deferred disposition. Also, a plea of nolo contendere may not be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages.
Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt and that the State must prove the charge that is filed against you. If you plead not guilty, you need to decide whether to hire an attorney to represent you. If you plead not guilty, you will be set for a pre-trial conference with the Prosecutor to discuss your case.