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Should I Plead No Contest to DUI?

You’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI ) in Orange County, and now you’re wondering if pleading no contest could help your charge. Or, what about pleading guilty? After all, it is your first DUI arrest and you did make a mistake by drinking and driving. In your mind, you’re guilty so maybe not fighting is the right thing to do.

If you’re even thinking about doing this alone, don’t. You need to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney. Wondering what to do proves that you don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re trying to make a decision about a criminal matter that will affect the rest of your life. If you make the wrong decision, it could lead to a host of negative consequences. A DUI can even impact citizenship and naturalization.

For instance, it could cause you to lose your job, to get kicked out of college, or make it nearly impossible to have a rewarding career. Meanwhile, you’ll be under the court’s thumb for about 3 years, if not longer. If you don’t hire a lawyer to investigate the charges and look into the state’s case against you, it’s like you’re performing heart surgery on yourself without a medical degree.

Are you aware of the potential consequences of a DUI conviction?

  • Fines,
  • Driver’s license suspension,
  • Probation,
  • DUI School,
  • Community service,
  • Criminal record,
  • Skyrocketing auto insurance premiums,
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation (if ordered by the court),
  • Possible Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirement,
  • Scholarships can be denied,
  • Professional licenses can be denied, cancelled or revoked,
  • Travel to Canada will be barred for 10 years, and
  • Your employer may legally terminate you under California’s at-will employment laws.

Pleading No Contest Will Lead to a Conviction

When charged with DUI or any other crime, it is important to understand the difference between pleading "not guilty," "guilty" and "no contest."

  • Not Guilty:  When a person pleads not guilty to the charges, they are maintaining that they are innocent.
  • Guilty: When a person pleads guilty, they are admitting they have committed the crime(s) they have been charged with.
  • No Contest:  When a person pleads no contest, they are neither admitting nor denying they have committed the crime(s) they have been charged with.

If you plead no contest in criminal court, it will have the same result as a guilty plea; it would end up as a criminal conviction. So, know that if you decide to plead no contest, you’re certain to be convicted of DUI, and that would mean that you never found out if you had viable defenses or if there was a way to get your charges reduced. Even having a DUI reduced to wet reckless has many advantages, and it should be considered.

How Should I Plead My Case?

Whether a defendant should plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest can only be determined on a case-by-case basis, as no two cases are alike, even when the charges are the same.  At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our goal is to secure the best possible outcome for your case with as little damage to your rights, freedom, and reputation as possible.  Sometimes it's better for our clients to plead guilty in exchange for a plea bargain.  Other times, it might be better for our clients to plead not guilty and fight the charges in court. 

If you were recently arrested, you have just 10 days from the date of the arrest to contact the DMV and request a hearing. Otherwise, they will automatically suspend your driver’s license. Don’t handle your DUI case alone – contact OC’s DUI Queen for help!

Need an Orange County DUI lawyer? Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to work with one of the top DUI defense firms in the county!