A lot of people mistakenly think that when they are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, they can simply accept a no contest plea to the charges, pay their fines, and save their time without any further penalties to worry about – but it’s not as simple as that.
A no contest plea will show up on your criminal record, potentially jeopardizing your livelihood. Doing so can even put you at greater risk of being found guilty in the future if you face similar charges again down the road.
A no contest plea, or nolo contendere, essentially means that you are not contesting the charges against you with the help of criminal defense attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina. This can help you when your actual guilt is in dispute (and you would like to fight the charges). But, it’s usually a bad idea if you truly believe that you are innocent or otherwise just wish to plead guilty to the charges against you.
Let’s discuss why the no contest plea for DUI charges in Greenville is a bad idea in most situations.
You may be able to negotiate a plea deal outside of court, but you should speak with the best Greenville, South Carolina DUI lawyer from the Bateman Law Firm before making any decisions.
An Overview of The Pre-Trial Hearing
A pre-trial hearing is where the judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to go to trial. This can happen before or after the arraignment. They’ll look at whether or not there’s enough evidence and if the charges are specific enough.
Sometimes, they might also look at whether or not it’s in the public interest to proceed with the case, although this isn’t always necessary. A no contest plea means that you’re pleading guilty without admitting guilt, so you won’t have any opportunity to defend yourself.
What Is a No Contest Plea in a DUI Case?
In a no contest plea, you plead guilty to the charges, but you are not admitting guilt.
This means that the burden of proof falls on the prosecution to prove that you were guilty. It’s not as bad as it sounds because to win, the prosecution has to be able to show evidence that they believe proves your guilt. It means that if you plead no contest, there will be no trial and no jury decision.
What Will Happen If I Enter a No Contest Plea In Greenville?
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Greenville, you may wonder whether or not to enter a no contest plea. If so, it’s essential to know several reasons why this plea might not be your best option.
When you enter a plea of no contest, the court will deem you guilty before your case is heard. You should know that if you plead no contest, you will be subject to the same penalties as if you were found guilty, i.e., jail time, license suspension, and so on.
The next thing to know is that a conviction on your record can cause some serious problems down the road. It may prevent you from getting specific jobs, make it more difficult for you to get approved for loans and credit cards, and even impact your ability to become a member of certain organizations or hold specific licenses.
Finally, if you have a legal problem such as child support or divorce proceedings, pleading no contest could complicate those proceedings and add additional stress to an already difficult situation.
Why Is a No Contest Plea For DUI Charges a VERY Bad Idea?
A no contest plea may sound like a convenient option at first glance, but there are many reasons why someone would want to avoid pleading no contest to avoid these severe consequences.
Pleading no contest means that you are admitting guilt but do not wish to be punished. A no contest plea can have the same consequences as pleading guilty (even worse if the judge is enraged at your stance), including incarceration, fines, or other punishments.
There may also be restrictions on your license, immigration status, and job opportunities. In some states, it could even lead to a lifetime revocation of your driver’s license. It can also negatively impact future criminal cases, such as an increase in sentencing time.
It should only be used if there is an agreement with prosecutors that they will not pursue harsher penalties than what would have been given had you pleaded guilty.
What Happens If You Plead Not Guilty at Trial and Are Found Guilty?
If you plead not guilty at trial and are found guilty, the judge will impose the sentence they deem appropriate. This can be up to six months in jail and/or fines of up to $2,000. The penalties increase if there are any injuries or fatalities due to your actions.
And if this is your second offense, you could face even more severe penalties, including two years in prison.
A no contest plea can save time because it doesn’t require jury selection and testimony. But if you’re charged with another crime in the future, the previous conviction on your record may make it easier for prosecutors to get a conviction than they would with someone who has never been arrested before.
Hire The Best Greenville, South Carolina DUI Lawyer for Your Case!
We strongly urge you to reconsider if you are planning to plead no contest to your DUI charges. Not only will you be giving up the opportunity to challenge the evidence and have your day in court, but you will also likely end up with a harsher sentence than if you were convicted.
You may think that you’re saving yourself from going through a stressful trial, but that’s just not worth it when it comes to the cost of losing everything you’ve worked so hard for. The courts don’t take plea bargains lightly, so think twice before choosing this route.
The decision to enter a no contest plea should only be made after discussing all possible outcomes with the best Greenville, South Carolina DUI lawyers and weighing them against the potential risks and benefits. At the Bateman Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina specializing in DUI cases can help you pick the best route.
Contact us today for professional advice before making any decision regarding your DUI case!