DUI Arrests And A Choice Of Pleas


Those arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) will face a major decision. Even those that have not yet had an opportunity to speak with their legal counsel will be asked to enter a plea. The plea choices are:

  1. Guilty
  2. Not guilty
  3. Nolo contendere, or no contest

For some guidance on how to handle this decision, read on.

Your DUI Arraignment

Arraignments happen within a day or so of an arrest. Several matters are settled during the arraignment, and one of them is your opportunity to enter a plea. Other events occurring at the same time might include the following:

  • You are officially informed of your charges.
  • An assignment of a public defender for those who are unable to afford a private lawyer.
  • Bail is either offered or denied and the amount of the bail is set; some locations use a separate bail hearing for this matter.

You Can Plead Not Guilty

No matter how you might feel about the DUI arrest, a plea of not guilty is not advisable. Feelings of embarrassment, remorse, and, yes, guilt should play no part in what is essentially a legal matter. An initial not-guilty plea does no harm to your upcoming case and is the least potentially damaging plea to make. You have a right to change any plea you make at the arraignment. Pleading not guilty is the best course of action and one that any criminal defense lawyer will advise to you make, particularly those who deal with DUI cases.

You Can Plead Guilty

An arraignment represents the very beginning of your journey to have your DUI charges dismissed or reduced. When you consider all the ramifications of a conviction and understand how many DUI arrests end up never going to court, you might want to avoid the potential damage a guilty plea could bring. It just doesn't look good to change your plea from guilty to not guilty when you are presented with a plea bargain, as it paints your situation as more guilty than the circumstances might warrant.

You Can Plead No Contest

Nolo contendere, a Latin phrase that roughly translates to "I do not contend," is neither accepting or denying a charge. It means that you understand the charges and you are not admitting anything but that you are also not denying it. This plea may sound better than a guilty plea but can have the same effect at an arraignment.

Standing between you and a world of serious punishment for a DUI conviction is your criminal defense lawyer. As soon as possible after an arrest, speak to an attorney and work under their guidance to get your charges dropped or reduced.


21 August 2019

Introduction To Legal Defense: Criminal Defense Options

Growing up in a law enforcement family, I learned a lot about how arrests take place, what goes into investigations, and more. That gave me a really unique insight when it comes to criminal defense options and the areas where there may be vulnerabilities or loopholes that can be used in court. I've done a lot of research into the legalities of criminal defense as well, so it's allowed me to merge the two and create a site that offers a comprehensive look at criminal defense options and the court's expectations. It's always best to work with a lawyer, but having an understanding of the basics first will help.