PLEA OF GUILTY – By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the criminal offense charged.
PLEA OF 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.
PLEA OF NOT GUILTY – A plea of not guilty meansthat you deny guilt and require the State to prove the charge. A plea of notguilty does not waive any of your rights. A plea of not guilty does not prevent a plea of guilty or no contest at a latertime.