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Unless you are entitled to a compliance dismissal, you must enter one of the following the 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.
- The difference between a plea of guilty and nolo contendere is that the no contest plea may not later be used against you 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.
- If you plead guilty or nolo contendere, 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.