Municipal Court Pleas
There are three pleas from which you may choose:
Plea of Not Guilty – A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt or that you have a defense in your case, and require the State to prove the charge(s) against you. 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. You will need to decide whether to hire an attorney to represent you. If you represent yourself, please read the Section on Trials to assist you in understanding the trial procedures.
Plea of Guilty – By a plea of guilty, you admit that the act is prohibited by law, that you committed the act charged, and that you have no defense or excuse for your act. Before entering a plea of guilty, however, you should understand the following:
1. The State has the burden of proving that you violated the law (the law does not require that you prove that you did not violate the law);
2. You have the right to hear the State’s evidence and to require the State to prove you violated the law; and
3. A plea of guilty may be used against you later in a civil suit (e.g., If there was a traffic accident, another party can say you were at fault or responsible for the accident because you plead guilty to the traffic charge).
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 be found guilty, unless you are eligible and successfully complete a driving safety course and/or court ordered probation. A plea of nolo contendere cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages.
If you plead guilty or nolo contendere, you will be found guilty and should be prepared to pay the fine. A plea of guilty waives all of the trial rights.