Driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense, and a single DUI conviction can have permanent ramifications. Although you may think your best option is to simply plead guilty and accept whatever penalties the court imposes—which could include a license suspension and jail time—you should be aware of the potential long-term consequences of doing so.
From your insurance rates to your job eligibility, a DUI conviction can impact many areas of your life. For these reasons, most drivers must obtain legal counsel to determine the best strategy for their case. In some instances, you may be able to challenge the legality of your arrest and get your case dismissed.
However, in rare cases, it may be best to negotiate with the prosecution and enter a nolo contendere plea. Nolo Contendere in Georgia in DUI cases is viewed as a conviction. However, it may be able to prevent an admission of guilt from being used against you if you were being sued for causing an accident.
What It Means
Translated from its Latin origins, the term nolo contendere means, “I do not wish to contest.” In a legal setting, a plea of nolo contendere means that you do not admit guilt nor do you claim to be innocent of a given charge.
A plea of nolo contendere is entered when an individual does not think there is a possibility that he or she will win his or her case. It can save time and money in court costs and spares the person from admitting wrongdoing or guilt.
If you have been charged with DUI, you may be considering a nolo plea in your case. Before you make that decision, there are a few things you need to consider. First, you cannot plead nolo contendere if:
- You are under 21 years of age
- Your BAC was higher than .15
- You have been convicted of a DUI or entered a plea in a DUI case within the past five years
It is also important to understand that pleading nolo contendere will not save your license from suspension. In fact, it is likely that you will still face penalties similar to those you would face if you plead or were found guilty, including:
- Community service
- Driver’s license penalties
- Required attendance and completion of alcohol education classes
- Jail time
It is rare for a judge to accept a nolo plea. Even if the judge allows it, you still face a conviction and the penalties that go with it, like license suspension up to 1 year, jail time, community service, fines, and an alcohol and drug assessment. A plea of nolo subjects you to the same amount of license suspension time as a plea of guilty in a DUI case.
Discussing Options With an Attorney
Given all of the factors involved in a DUI case, it is important for you to consult with an attorney before you enter a guilty or nolo contendere plea. For a free consultation with an attorney at Kohn & Yager, call us today or submit your information online. Someone from our firm will be in touch with you shortly to schedule an appointment.