How Do You Plea?

Do you know your options? In court proceedings, the defendant must decide which plea they will answer the charge with. A plea is an important part of a trial and must be decided on before arraignment with the defendant and his or her legal team. Pleas are perhaps the most significant defense strategy one can utilize. Consider the following pleas:

Guilty

Perhaps the least-popular plea, this plea is used when the defendant admits responsibility for all of the charges brought against them. When a defendant enters a guilty plea, the trial is typically waived entirely and the court may continue straight to sentencing. In the U.S., if a defendant enters a plea of guilty, they must do it “knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently”. In order to determine this, the prosecution will ask the defendant a series of questions as a test of understanding.

Not Guilty

A plea of not guilty will allow the defendant to deny guilt and thus responsibility for all charges. If the court finds the defendant not guilty, the defendant will be acquitted of all charged.

Nolo Contendere (No Contest)

Latin for “I do not wish to contend”, a plea of no contest is considered a denial of guilt but not a plea of not guilty. It’s a third option that usually leads to a plea bargain. In state-level court cases, a plea of no contest can only occur under certain circumstances that are decided upon a state-by-state basis. After a no contest plea, the defendant will have the opportunity to pursue a plea bargain.

Carroll Troberman, PLLC is here to represent you in court for your criminal charge. Contact out Austin criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation.

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