Under our system of justice, all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of not guilty, a formal trial is held. As in all criminal trials, the State is required to prove the guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" of the offense charged in the complaint before a defendant can be found guilty by a Judge or Jury.
Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. Please consider each plea carefully before making a decision. If you plead "guilty" or "no contest" you should be prepared to pay the fine and court costs. You may contact the Court Clerk to obtain the amount of your fine and how to make payment.
Plea of Guilty
By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the offense charged against you. Before entering a plea of guilty, you should understand a plea of guilty may be used against you later in a civil suit if there was a traffic accident at the time of offense (another party may 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 no contest 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 driver safety course and/or deferred disposition. A plea of no contest cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for any damages that may have resulted from any accident that may have occurred at the time of offense.
Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of not guilty means that you are informing the Court that you deny any guilt or that you have a defense in the case and the State must prove the charge against you. If you plead not guilty, you need to decide if you want your case heard before the Municipal Court Judge or a jury. You will also need to decide whether to represent yourself or if you want to hire an attorney. See the Trial section for more information.