It is vital that you know you have three plea options if you had been charged with a crime – any crime, for that matter. You must contact an experienced defence attorney that will explain your rights before your court date and discuss your options with you. A confident lawyer should not charge you for the initial consultation, which will include answering your question “What is Criminal Law Adelaide?”.
Foremost, you must understand that a “No Contest” statement is not the same as “Not Guilty”.
You must file a statement or plea at your preliminary hearing or arraignment with your plea. Read and digest the information here, as if your life depends on it.
In this article, we will discuss the three possible plea options and how they are different from one another.
- No Contest
- Not Guilty
If you plead guilty, you admit committing the crime for which you have been charged. You’re giving up a lot of your rights. These may include your right to representation, your right to a trial, and your right to compel witnesses to testify.
Enter a not guilty plea at the first hearing, and later on, being found guilty, does not mean that the court will give you a much harsher sentence. It is not the case; even if you change your plea— do not make this wrong assumption and renounce your rights!
Even if you feel guilty, and thus enter a guilty plea at your first hearing, you are giving up the opportunity for the charges against you to be dismissed or reduced. The police, as well as the prosecution, have a strict set of rules to follow. Often, what they have is a case that is difficult to prove. Contact a defence attorney before renouncing your rights.
Pleading “No Contest” essentially means an admission of the crime. You admit the facts that have been alleged against you; thus, you will be found guilty!
The “no contest” plea is the least understood and most commonly used. Many people believe they should enter their first court hearing and file a “no contest” statement. They don’t know that they’ll be found guilty as if they’ve filed a guilty plea. It seems the only significant benefit of a no-contest plea is that the statement cannot be used against you later (usually in a civil or personal injury lawsuit).
A plea of not guilty is the best option because it allows you to see the evidence against you. You can then file pretrial motions and evidentiary motions. It is the only option that will give you the chance to walk out of the courtroom with charges dismissed.
Entering a “not guilty” plea is telling the court (and the prosecution) that you want to exercise your rights and that you have the answers to “What is Criminal Law Adelaide?” as explained by your criminal lawyer. It is part of showing the court and the jury that you are not willing to back down without a fight.