Pleading No Contest to a DUI
Being charged with driving under the influence is a stressful situation. Besides worrying about the potential penalties you face, you have to navigate the confusing court system. Knowing how to file the correct paperwork as well as which plea to enter may mean the difference between avoiding criminal penalties and having your life altered by court-imposed consequences.
There are several steps to the court process: arraignment, the preliminary hearing, pre-trial motions, and the trial itself.
The arraignment is an important part of the court process, as this is where you enter your plea. You may enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.
Pleading no contest to a DUI means that you do not agree or disagree with the drunk-driving charges against you. In some states, pleading no contest means that your driving privileges are not affected, while entering a guilty plea means that your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.
When you go to the arraignment, it is important to show up on the date that is shown on your DUI ticket or the release records from your arrest. You should also be sure to show up on time and dress properly for the occasion.
Once you are in the courtroom, you must wait to be called before the judge. If you have hired a defense attorney, he or she will be with you during the arraignment and can guide you through the proceedings. Depending on the number of cases the judge is hearing, this may not take long.
When the judge calls your case, you will walk to the defendant’s table at the front of the courtroom. The judge will then confirm your identity and read the charges against you. It is important to answer the judge respectfully. For each charge, the judge will ask how you plead. You may then enter a plea of “no contest.” After your plea, the judge may sentence you on the spot or set a future date for sentencing.
Are you trying to decide if pleading no contest to a DUI is right for you? A skilled defense lawyer may help you make this important decision.
Contact a DUI lawyer today to discuss the details of your case.