The Choice Is Yours. It is up to you to decide what plea you are going to enter. To make that decision, you should read the statute or ordinance that you are charged with having violated. Then relate what happened and analyze if it is prohibited by the language in the statute or ordinance. You are in a unique position to make that analysis, simply because you were there. If you are unable to access the statute or ordinance, you can ask the judge for assistance.
Pleading Not Guilty. If you plead not guilty your case will be scheduled for a pretrial conference. The purpose of a pretrial conference is to provide an opportunity for you and the city attorney (prosecutor) to resolve the case without going to trial. If it is not resolved, you will be notified of a trial date by mail.
Pleading Guilty or No Contest. If you appear personally and plead guilty or no contest, the court must find you guilty and impose a forfeiture. However, if you ask, you will be given an opportunity to briefly discuss the circumstances leading to your arrest, your financial circumstances, and anything else that is relevant to your case or its disposition.
The Difference Between A Guilty And A No Contest Plea. A guilty plea is taken to mean that you admit that you committed the charged offense. A no contest plea means that you neither admit nor deny the charge, but because you are not denying the charge the court is required by law to find you guilty. The difference between the two pleas is significant only if the incident which brings you to court resulted in an injury or damage to someone else’s person or property – arising, for example, out of an automobile accident or a fight. If the person who sustained the injury or damage were to sue you for compensation in the circuit court, your plea of guilty could be used against you in that trial; a plea of no contest, on the other hand, even though it will result in your being found guilty, cannot be used against you in the law suit. That is the only legal difference between the guilty and no contest pleas.