Unless you are entitled to a compliance dismissal, you must enter one of the following three pleas:
- Plea of Not Guilty - A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt and require the State to prove the charge. A plea of not guilty does not waive any of your rights. A plea of not guilty does not prevent a plea of guilty or no contest at a later time.
- Plea of Guilty - By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the criminal offense charged.
- Plea of Nolo Contendere (no contest) - A plea of nolo contendere means that you do not contest the State's charge against you.
Guilty & No Contest Pleas
The difference between a plea of guilty and no contest is that the no contest plea may not be used against you later in a civil suit for damages. For example, in a civil suit arising from a traffic crash, a guilty plea can be used as evidence of your responsibility or fault.
Being Found Guilty
If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be found guilty and should be prepared to pay the fine. A plea of guilty or nolo contendere waives all of the trial rights discussed earlier. If you are unable to pay the entire fine and costs, you should be prepared to document and explain your financial situation.