You are currently driving on the streets of Las Vegas and noticed flashing lights coming from a police car in your rearview mirror. You are not quite sure what you did wrong but you know the cop behind you is waiting for you to pull over so he/she can talk with you. After your driver’s license, insurance, and registration are checked, you will be informed about your violations.
If you didn’t do anything serious on the street, you’ll probably get a traffic ticket. It’s understandable to feel stressed after what happened for the last fifteen minutes or so. Now what? We at Ticket Busters recommend you contact a lawyer for assistance.
Going through the process of fighting the ticket, attending court, and risking more time and money by doing all of that can be quite intimidating for most people. That is a good reason to have legal help in your journey. Our office is easily accessible, being located in downtown Las Vegas and we can also be reached by telephone or email.
After arriving home, you’ll probably find an option on the ticket to plead guilty, which will result in a fine and potentially enrollment in traffic school. However, there are two other options available: pleading “not guilty” or “no contest.”
We will discuss the ins and outs of the “No Contest” plea in this article.
What Does “No Contest” Mean?
If you receive a traffic ticket, such as for speeding, you have different options to choose from. One of those options is to plead no contest. However, the meaning of pleading no contest might not appear very important, although it holds significant consequences.
Pleading no contest does not equate to admitting guilt for the charged crime, nor does it signify innocence. It simply means that you are acknowledging the charges filed against you by the court system and do not wish to contest the evidence or facts presented.
There are a few components to making this type of plea.
- By making the plea, you are not admitting that you violated the traffic rule that was cited.
- The individual making the plea realizes that if they went to trial or challenged the ticket, they would likely be found guilty.
- By pleading no contest, you will not have a trial and are giving up the right to one.
Law buffs may know the “no contest” plea in its Latin version which is “nolo contendere”.
What Occurs After Making a “No Contest” Plea?
Once you make that plea, it is up to the judge to then hand over the punishments.
In most cases, they will follow the directives from the District Attorney especially if a deal has been previously arranged. However, they do not have to do that and can come up with their own punishments if they prefer. That is why it is always good to be respectful in the court and to the judge and even to the opposing bench lawyers.
Am I Able to Retract a “No Contest” Plea?
Once you utter those two powerful words there usually is no going back. There are some possibilities to make a motion to withdraw a plea but that is not guaranteed and it must be done before any sentencing is handed down by the judge.
If you just happen to change your mind, then it likely would not be granted. If the judge feels that you were misled by your legal counsel or were misinformed about the rules then they may pity you and allow you to retract your plea.
Oftentimes, this can occur when the person making the plea does not speak English and there is a translation error or miscommunication on the details.
If your lawyer did not provide you with all of the details and potential outcomes of your options, then the courts may allow you to change. It is difficult to prove that so it is always wise to understand the rules and make the proper plea the very first time.
Having a competent lawyer will also help in this manner which is why you should contact Ticket Busters. There are no “gotcha” moments in the courts of Nevada and the United States. Everyone is to get a fair trial and needs to understand the rules. If an error is made, the courts can rectify it but it’s never a guarantee based on the information they may have.
Benefits of Pleading “No Contest”
Oftentimes, by pleading no contest you will get a better break from the opposing district attorney, court, or whoever else is in charge of the ticket against you. Even though you are not admitting guilt with that type of plea, you are still making a deal but one that does not cause the prosecution to allocate resources against you.
Another benefit of pleading no contest is that your plea cannot be used against you at a later time. Even though you are paying the penalty for the ticket you received, you are not admitting guilt and the court system is therefore not recording any guilt on your behalf.
This can be effective because in Nevada, there are demerit points posted against your license and when 12 are accumulated at any given time you can lose your right to drive. If you are sued at a later time for some reason that stemmed from the initial violation, your no contest plea could work to your advantage since you did not admit any guilt and the court accepted that plea.
Quick resolution is an outcome of pleading no contest. Since you are not challenging the traffic ticket incurred, you should just be able to pay your fine and move on. Court appearances are typically not needed and therefore a long drawn-out process usually does not happen with a no contest plea.
Knowing what the process is and how long it will take to be done with a traffic ticket is quite appealing for many drivers in Nevada. This is another reason to always reach out to Ticket Busters when you receive a traffic ticket. Even if you do not plead no contest and instead decide to fight the ticket, we can do most of the legwork on your behalf making it a seamless situation for you.
You know the outcome when you plead no contest. By doing so, you understand that you are not being found guilty and avoid the drama of a trial that could have two different outcomes, both of which are extremely different (guilty or not guilty). Before making that plea, you or your attorney will have likely discussed the outcomes with the District Attorney and although a judge may nullify whatever resolution was agreed upon they will typically not exercise that option.
Disadvantages of Pleading “No Contest”
One advantage of making a no contest plea is that you know exactly what the outcome will be – a fine and punishment for the traffic violation. Even if you have evidence that could help your case, it won’t be considered since you’ve given up your right to a trial. Therefore, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and fully understand the potential outcomes before choosing to make a no contest plea.
Regardless of what decision you make, you always need to ensure that the Nevada courts are notified. You never want to ignore a ticket and hope that it just goes away. If there is a court date set up and posted on your traffic ticket, you need to be sure that you are present for that date or have notified the proper authorities in advance to let them know you will not be attending.
A simple mistake like this can cause a basic traffic ticket to turn into a warrant for your arrest. Things can spiral out of hand very quickly which is why it is always best to have legal representation even for a traffic citation.
Hiring an attorney from Ticket Busters can be very helpful with this analysis. Someone versed in Nevada law who has a concentration in traffic tickets will be able to educate you on your options so you can decide the best path forward.
After discussing the various options with our legal staff you very well may decide that you are best to fight the ticket and plead “not guilty”. After we have an initial strategy session with you and get the details of your case we may be able to find some cracks in the prosecution to make some arguments that you were indeed not guilty of the traffic violation.
If you are cited a ticket, contact our office today.