Under our system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. Consider each plea carefully before making a decision.
A plea of not guilty means you are informing the court that you deny guilt in this case, and that the state must prove what it has charged against you. You have the right to a trial by judge or jury. You will need to decide whether or not to hire an attorney to represent you. You may defend yourself, but no one other than an attorney may represent you.
If you choose to defend yourself, the section on Trials will help you to understand trial procedure. All proceedings will be conducted according to the rules of criminal procedure and the rules of evidence.
A plea of guilty is a formal admission of guilt wherein the defendant confesses to committing the charged crime. The defendant will be found guilty and assessed a fine and costs. A defendant entering a plea of guilty may be eligible for Deferred Disposition or the Driving Safety Course.
A plea of nolo contendere (no contest) means the defendant is not contesting the charges filed against them. The defendant will be found guilty and assessed a fine and costs. Although this plea has a similar legal effect as pleading guilty, the defendant does not admit or deny the charges. A defendant pleading no contest may be eligible for Deferred Disposition or the Driving Safety Course.
Defendants who plead guilty or nolo contendere must also waive the right to a jury trial in writing.
If you have questions about pleas you may contact an attorney.