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Under our America system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of not guilty, a trial is held. As in all criminal trials, the State must prove the guilt of a defendant "beyond a reasonable doubt” of the offence charged in the complaint before the defendant can be found guilty by a judge or jury. Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. You should read the following explanation of all three types of pleas and think carefully before making your decision. If you plead guilty or no contest, you should be prepared to pay the fine.
Plea of Guilty –By a plea of guilty, you admit that the act is prohibited by law and that you committed the act charged. Before entering your plea of guilty, however, you should understand the following:
(1) The State has the burden of proving that you violated the law. The law does not require that you prove you did not violate the law.
(2) You have the right to hear the State’s evidence and to require the State to prove you violated the law; and
(3) A plea of guilty may be used against you later in a civil suit if there was a traffic accident (another party can say you were responsible for the accident because you pled guilty to the traffic charge).
Plea of Nolo Contendere –A plea of nolo contendere means that you do not contest the State’s charge against you. You will almost certainly be found guilty unless you are eligible and successfully complete a driving safety course and/or court ordered probation. Also, a plea of nolo contendere may not be used against you in a civil suit.
Plea of Not Guilty –A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt, and that the State must prove the charge that it filed against you. If you plead not guilty, you need to decide whether to hire an attorney to represent you. If you represent yourself, the section entitled “The Trial” may help you understand your rights and the trial procedure.