Former Councilman Pleads No Contest To DUI, Possession Of Cocaine
A Palm Bay councilman has pleaded no contest to charges of DUI and possession of cocaine after a traffic stop. He has since resigned his position on the council. Of the charges, cocaine possession is considered the more serious under Florida law, although that makes little sense. With the cocaine possession charge, authorities were able to leverage a 24-month period of house arrest. On the DUI charge, he will be placed on supervised probation for a period of 12 months. His driver’s license will remain revoked for a period of 6 months. He will also have to perform community service and enroll in DUI school. Many other charges were dropped in accepting the plea.
Why would you plead no contest?
In truth, there’s very little reason to plead no contest and in some jurisdictions, it’s prohibited. “No contest” means you refuse to admit guilt but will not defend yourself from the charges. In most cases, an Alford Plea is used instead. In either case, the plea would protect you from a plaintiff using the criminal judgment against you during a civil trial.
This often applies to DUI cases in which there is an injured party. A lawsuit may be filed, but if the defendant pleads guilty, then they are also automatically liable to a defendant. In this case, the councilman pleading no contest would not have the judgment automatically attached to the civil case. So, if there is a civil case, which we don’t know, the plaintiff would have to go through the effort of litigating negligence. While this may not be overly difficult, it will still cost money.
Does pleading no contest help you?
Not especially. In some cases, a guilty plea will take any chance of an appeal off the table. However, there are precious few circumstances in which a no contest plea won’t do the same thing. For both an Alford Plea and a plea of no contest, you are not admitting guilt. So, defendants who feel they don’t deserve to be forced to plead guilty, can opt for either an Alford plea or a plea of no contest. The Alford Plea is used more often.
The thing about no contest pleas is that prosecutors don’t like them. They like guilty pleas. A no contest feels like a loss. But, they still get a conviction. A defendant who refuses to plead guilty is likely handing leverage to prosecutors. They will want a longer sentence in exchange for allowing the no contest plea to move forward. They may be willing to reduce the sentence in order to leverage a guilty plea.
Talk to an Orlando DUI Defense Attorney Today
FL DUI Group represents the interests of Orlando residents who have been charged with DUI-related offenses in the area. Call our Florida DUI defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your defense immediately.