If you have been charged with an traffic offense, you will have three options to choose from when in court with regards to your plea decision: to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest.

The first two are straightforward, while the last one can be a bit confusing for defendants. In light of your case and the potential penalties that may result, understanding the concept of a no contest or nolo contendre plea as well as its pros and cons, is very important.

What “No Contest” Means

In the most basic sense, when you plead no contest, you are telling the court that you do not agree with the charges being brought against you, but also do not have any intentions on disputing them. As such, this is not technically an admission of guilt, but rather a statement of non-defense.

Depending on the severity of your charge(s) and how many you have, a nolo contendre plea may very well be in your favor. In the vast majority of criminal cases, it is used as a tool to acquire a plea bargain, in which your Atlanta traffic ticket lawyer will negotiate with the court to reduce the number of charges and/or their associated penalties (lower fines, no jail time, etc).

Needless to say, this is by far the leading advantage this plea option has versus a not guilty one, in addition to facilitating the court proceedings. No contest cases are typically resolved very quickly; however, a quick trial also means you are forfeiting your right to defend yourself. Once your statement has been entered, you will not have the opportunity to present an argument to the judge.

Given that most no contest pleas end up in guilty verdicts, you will want to consult with your Atlanta speeding ticket lawyer about whether this is the best option for your case. If you are facing charges that could land you a criminal record and your attorney believes the court will not move in favor to reduce them, entering a not guilty plea is the better alternative.

Sam McRae is a leading traffic court attorney who can give you the best chance to win your case or reduce your punishment. Contact him today for a free consultation.