Nolo Contendere Plea in Georgia
A nolo contendere plea is a very effective tool for people charged with misdemeanor traffic offenses in Georgia. When used correctly, nolo pleas allow people to avoid receiving points off their license. However, the offense must be a 3 point or less offense. A nolo contendere plea is also known as a no contest plea. In basic terms, a nolo plea is where a person decides not to contest the charge and just accepts a punishment.
You can choose to plead nolo once every five years. Even if you are eligible to use a nolo plea, the judge has discretion whether or not to accept the plea. One thing to note is that a nolo contendere plea will be reported to the Department of Driver Services (DDS). While it will not result in points against your license, it can result in your insurance company raising your premiums because it will show up on the MVR report. Furthermore, a nolo plea does not mean you get a reduced punishment. You will face the same sentence as if you entered a regular guilty plea, but it does not go on your record.
Nolo pleas can also be used to avoid a license suspension for the following offenses once every five years:
- No insurance
- Driving on a suspended license
- Driving with suspended registration
However, if you have already used one nolo plea in the past 5 years, and you choose to plead nolo again, DDS will consider the second plea a guilty plea and points will be assessed on your license.
While nolo pleas are valuable, often an experienced Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyer can provide alternative options than entering into a no contest plea.
Nolo Pleas Concerning Commercial Drivers License
A nolo plea does not prevent a commercial driver's license from being suspended of disqualified. All traffic offenses are reported to DDS for CDL drivers. Therefore, a nolo plea would be ineffective, and it would be more beneficial to hire a Georgia Traffic Attorney that could negotiate the violation being dismissed or reduced to a non-reportable offense.
How Nolo Pleas Affect Drivers Under 18 and 21
If you are under 18 years old, you are unable to use the nolo plea. Instead, you will need a Traffic Lawyer in Georgia that can try to get the charge reduced. If you are under the age of 21, nolo pleas are rarely helpful. It is best to discuss your case with a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney before making any decisions.
For drivers under 21 years of age, nolo will not avoid a license suspension for offenses for which 4 or more points are assessed or offenses listed under O.C.G.A. § 40-5-57. These include:
- Hit and Run or leaving the scene of the accident
- Escaping or fleeing using your motor vehicle
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving
- Unlawful passing of a school bus
- Improper passing on a hill or curve
- Exceeding the speed limit by 24 mph or more
When are Nolo Pleas the Most and Least Useful
Nolo pleas can be used in lots of different situations. However, even if a nolo plea can be used, it may not always be the best option. It is important to discuss with a Georgia Defense Attorney and determine what the best course is for your case.
Some examples of when nolo pleas are the most useful include:
- If charged with no insurance or driving with a suspense license, nolo pleas are good options. However, if this was your first offense, our Georgia Traffic Lawyers can help get first offense charges reduced to non-reportable offenses. Getting it reduced to a non-reportable offense is better than a nolo plea.
- It is a good option in hit and run cases.
Situations where nolo pleas are not the best option include:
- In cases where the violation was a minor traffic offense, many courts will let the offender attend a defensive driving school in exchange for a dismissal. The nolo plea is not needed in these situations.
- If charged with shoplifting, nolo is not the best option. Most courts allow first offenders to attend a shoplifting diversion program and upon completion, the case will be dismissed.
- If the offense is one that is not reported on someone's Motor Vehicle Report, then a nolo plea is not appropriate. Some examples include parking tickets, failure to renew registration, going less than 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, and driving too fast for conditions.
- Nolo pleas never help in a Georgia Super Speeder Case.
Nolo pleas can be extremely useful in the right situations. However, since you can only take advantage of using the defense once every five years you need to ensure you are getting the most out of it. Call and speak to one of our Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers today and receive a free case evaluation. We will help you understand your options and ensure that the nolo plea is the best choice for our case. Contact us today!