A plea of Nolo Contendre or No Contest is similar to a guilty plea with without an admission of guilt. It is nevertheless a conviction. Why then would anyone use such a plea? Simple. A nolo plea carries certain benefits under Georgia law.
As a general rule, any conviction for a controlled substance violation in Georgia will result in a suspension of your driving privileges. The one exception is a nolo plea to possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. By entering a nolo plea and completing a DUI driving school course, drivers can avoid the otherwise mandatory license suspension. This offers an alternative to conditional discharge agreements, particularly when a driver does not wish to meet all of the strict conditions.
The area that nolo pleas are most often used is in dealing with traffic violations. A nolo plea may eliminate the assessment of points for a given moving violation, depending on the age of the driver and the nature of the offense. This may help to save a person’s driving privileges and make it more difficult for an insurance company to discover the violation.
NOTE: A nolo plea will not prevent a commercial license disqualification or suspension.
Finally, as mentioned above, a nolo plea is not an admission of guilt. This can be particularly important in the case of an accident. A guilty plea can be used in a civil case or lawsuit to show who was at fault for the accident. Since a nolo plea does not contain an admission of guilt, it cannot be used against you.
Under Georgia law, you can enter a nolo plea once every five years and such a plea must be approved by the presiding judge. The Department of Driver Services may ignore the granting of any additional nolo pleas during the same five year period.
For additional information, contact The Ward Law Firm at (770) 383-1973.