Entering a Plea
Entering a Plea
You must decide upon and enter a plea to the charge against you on or before the response date on your citation. If you signed a citation in front of an officer, you did not plead guilty, but only signed a promise to appear in court within 10 days. There are 3 possible pleas to a complaint: Guilty, Nolo Contendere (No Contest), and Not Guilty. Your decision on what plea to enter is the most important decision you will have to make. Whether you feel that you are guilty or not, we suggest that you read the following explanations of all three types of pleas before making your decision.
Innocent until Proven Guilty
All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. You should review the following material before determining your plea.
Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of not guilty means you are informing the court that you deny guilt or that you have a good defense in your case or that you desire to have the State of Texas prove their assertion of your guilt at a formal trial by a judge or jury. A plea of not guilty requires that a trial be held. The State must prove the guilt of the defendant “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the offense charged. You will elect to have a jury trial or if you waive a trial by jury you may have a trial before a judge. If you plead “not guilty” you must decide whether to hire an attorney to represent you at your trial. If you represent yourself, these suggestions will help you understand your rights and trial procedures.
Plea of Guilty
A plea of guilty means that the act with which you are charged is prohibited by law, that you committed the act, and that you have no defense or excuse for the act. Before you enter a plea of guilty consider the following:
- The state has the burden of proving that you violated the law.
- You have the right to hear the State’s evidence against you
- A plea of guilty may be used against you later in a civil suit.
Plea of Nolo Contendere (No Contest)
A plea of nolo contendere means that you do not contest the State’s charge against you. You will almost certainly be found guilty. This plea cannot be held against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages. If you plead nolo contendere in open Court, you should e prepared to pay the fine.
If you defend yourself, please be advised that the Johnson City Municipal Court of Record #1 is a Court of Record. All proceedings will be conducted according to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the Rules of Evidence. If you choose to represent yourself, you must be prepared. The court staff, bailiff, prosecuting attorney or Judge cannot act as your attorney by providing legal advice or legal assistance in the presentation of your case.