Any person who is charged with a criminal act must decide upon and enter a plea on or before the appearance date on your citation. Here are the three pleas you may enter:
Unless you are entitled to a compliance dismissal, you must enter one of the following three pleas:
Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt and require the State to prove the charge. A plea of not guilty does not waive any of your rights. A plea of not guilty does not prevent a plea of guilty or no contest at a later time.
Plea of Guilty
By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the criminal offense charged.
Plea of Nolo Contendere (No Contest)
A plea of nolo contendere (no contest) means that you do not contest the State's charge against you
The difference between a plea of guilty and nolo contendere is that the nolo contendere plea may not be used against you later in a civil suit for damages. For example, in a civil suit arising from a traffic crash, a guilty plea can be used as evidence of your responsibility or fault.
If you plead guilty or nolo contendere, you will be found guilty and should be prepared to pay the fine. A plea of guilty or nolo contendere waives all of the trial rights discussed earlier. If you are unable to pay the entire fine and costs, you should be prepared to document and explain your financial situation.