Before the Court can consider your case, you must enter a plea. There are three possible pleas to a criminal charge.
- NOT GUILTY
- NO CONTEST (Nolo Contendere)
Plea of NOT GUILTY
- A “Not Guilty” plea MUST be made in writing.
- A plea of “Not Guilty” means that you are informing the Court that you deny guilt and the State must prove the criminal charge(s) against you. Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. At the trial setting, the State will be required to present evidence to prove all charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
- If you plead “Not Guilty” you must decide whether to employ an attorney to represent you (one will not be appointed).
Plea of GUILTY
- By a plea of “Guilty,” you admit that you have committed the act you have been charged with and agree to pay the fine as assessed.
Plea of NO CONTEST
- A plea of “No Contest” also known as “Nolo Contendere” simply means that you do not wish to contest the State’s charge against you. Upon a plea of “No Contest” the Judge will enter a judgment of guilty. If you enter a plea of “Guilty” or “No Contest” you will be fined at that time by the Judge.
If you are a juvenile (age 10-16) you MUST notify the Court for an appearance date with the Judge for ALL violations!
A parent/guardian MUST be present with ALL defendants under the age of 17!
The parent or guardian MUST keep the Court informed in writing of the child’s current address and residence. CCP Art. 45.057(h)