California courts allow individuals charged with traffic violations, such as driving under the influence, to enter a no-contest plea under certain circumstances. By pleading no contest, however, you generally waive the right to a jury trial, as explained by the Judicial Council of California.
When determining whether a plea helps your case move forward, you may need to consider the effects of the sentence ordered by a judge. The Golden State’s laws consider DUI a serious offense.
What type of a sentence may a no-contest plea result in?
A DUI conviction may result in a suspension of your driver’s license, or a judge may order you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Based on whether property damage, bodily injury or death occurred, you may also face incarceration.
A fatal accident that occurs as a result of driving while intoxicated may lead to a felony charge. A no-contest plea may reduce the severity of the punishment. As reported by KTLA News, for example, a judge may offer a lenient jail sentence, but you may return to prison if you violate the terms of your post-release probation.
What is the difference between pleading guilty and no contest?
A guilty plea generally means that you admit to driving under the influence while a no-contest plea does not contest the charges. Some motorists find themselves charged with DUI because they failed to submit to a blood or breath test.
When a law enforcement official pulls your vehicle over and has reasonable cause to suspect impairment, you generally need to comply with a request to provide a blood or breath test. By not submitting to a test, however, an arrest may occur and an officer may charge you with DUI.