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.