Should You Plead Guilty or No Contest to a DUI Charge?

When you have had too much to drink, it can be hard to judge whether or not you are okay to drive.

If you get behind the wheel when your blood alcohol level is too high, you may end up having an accident or driving erratically enough for the police to stop you. If you fail a breathalyzer test or are unable to perform certain field sobriety exercises correctly, you may be accused of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence).

When you are accused of a crime, you will have a hearing before your case goes to trial. You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Knowing what to plead can affect the sentencing you receive.

no contest to a dui charge
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What does each plea mean?

  • Not Guilty

When a person wants to officially inform the court that they did not commit a crime, they will enter a plea of not guilty. The prosecutor in the case will then be obligated to prove the individual’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • No Contest

If a person pleads no contest, they are admitting that the charges against them are truthful, but they are not officially admitting to guilt. One of the main reasons people use this plea is that no-contest pleas cannot be used against them in any future criminal trials. This type of plea will not be accepted in every case. A judge must approve of a no-contest plea.

If you have caused excessive property damage or injury, an attorney may encourage you to plead no contest because the person you injured might sue you for personal injury. If you plead guilty to criminal charges, they can use the plea against you. When you plead no-contest, they will not be able to use your plea as evidence in a criminal case.

  • Guilty

When you plead guilty, you are admitting that you committed a crime. If a person’s attorney feels that they do not have a good case, they may plead guilty to move onto the sentencing phase of their case.

Because of the high number of DUI cases on the docket, the judge will often reduce charges when an accused person agrees to plead guilty to a DUI offense.

Talk to an attorney before you make any plea. An attorney can help to have the charges dismissed or get you a lighter sentence no matter how you plead.

What Your Lawyer Will Do

Your attorney will take different actions depending on your plea and can help you work out a plea bargain. In this case, you would plead no contest or guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Your Orlando DUI attorney will be familiar with the judges in your jurisdiction as well as the local laws in Florida. They will know what terms are likely to be accepted by a judge.

If your plea is not guilty, an attorney will collect evidence to establish your innocence. They will look at the paperwork associated with your arrest for any inconsistencies. If there was a crash, they will review the accident report. They will also interview witnesses to the accident.

They may attempt to get your charges dismissed If they discover that the arresting officer did not follow protocol. If they have evidence to show that the charges against you are too harsh, they may try to get those charges reduced.

A DUI conviction can make your life much harder but a qualified attorney will be able to advise you on the best way to plea.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.