If you are arrested and charged with drunk driving, there are a few possible outcomes. If the evidence against you is insufficient to prove the charges, you could be found not guilty; naturally, that’s the best case scenario. You could be convicted and face penalties under Colorado law. If you are a first time offender, you might receive a deferred judgment or have your charges reduced (a “wet reckless,” or DWAI instead of a DUI). First time offenders also have the opportunity to plead no contest to the charges, if the judge allows it.
What Is a No Contest Plea?
Pleading no contest means that the defendant refuses to dispute or admit to the charges levied against him or her. From a practical standpoint, pleading no contest is very similar to pleading guilty, but there are a few differences, the most important of which is that a no contest plea cannot be used as evidence of guilt if you face civil action at a later date. If you are arrested for DUI because of a car accident, for example, the other driver may take legal action against you, and a plea of guilt could hurt your chances of fighting the civil charges. By pleading no contest, you will still face punishments in your criminal case, but your plea cannot be used to prove guilt in civil cases.
Pleading no contest will not protect you from having a DUI on your record, and your DUI will still be considered an aggravating factor for future crimes. So, if you end up accruing multiple DUIs, the no contest plea will still likely mean increased penalties for your subsequent charges.
Our Colorado DUI defense law firm can help you decide which plea will result in the optimal outcome for your DUI case.