I sit in courtrooms every day all across Cleveland, Ohio. One common mistake that I see happen is that people throw themselves on the mercy of the court and plea no-contest to the charges they face. On OVI charges, this is a bad idea.
What Is a Guilty Plea?
In Ohio, a guilty plea is a complete admission of your guilt. You are saying that every part of the indictment, or complaint, is true and that you are guilty of the crime that you are charged. A guilty plea can be used against you in later civil proceedings. For instance, if you are in a car crash and the crash was caused because you were intoxicated or on certain drugs, a guilty plea can be used against you in the later civil trial. This is important because the criminal system uses a higher standard of proof than the civil system and the conviction and plea of guilty will almost assure that you will lose the civil case.
What Is a No Contest Plea?
A no contest plea is a plea where you admit that the facts contained in the indictment, or in the complaint, are true BUT you do not admit that you are guilty. It is a manner in which you can say that there is no hope for fighting the charges and you just wish to move forward. Many people make the mistake of entering this plea at their arraignment and before challenging the evidence.
What Happens If You Plea No Contest to an OVI Charge?
You go to jail, you pay fines, you have six points on your license, the party plates, and interlock device are on the table. Most people do not realize two truths:
- All OVI charges carry mandatory penalties that the judge cannot change even if the judge wants to; and
- OVI charges can be reduced or even defeated when an experienced attorney is involved.
If you have been charged with an OVI you have a lot on the line. Going into court alone, without the help of an attorney, is just as dangerous as performing surgery on yourself. Call now! The call is free and without any obligation, ask to speak to me about how we can help you with your OVI matter.
Many times we watch people enter pleas of No Contest rather than Guilty, and many more times people will ask us what the difference is and what we think they should do. First, each and every case is different but if you have absolutely no other option than to enter one of these types of pleas you should probably enter a plea of No Contest. However, before entering any type of plea you should consult with a Criminal Lawyer in Cleveland.
I Plead No Contest But Want to Change My Plea...Can I?
Sometimes people plea no contest because they feel the court can be merciful or they feel there is no hope for them. To change your plea of no contest on a DUI to not guilty, you need to hire an experienced DUI lawyer to file a motion to withdraw your plea. This is a legal document filed under the criminal rules of procedure. The timing of the motion is incredibly important.
If the motion is filed before sentencing, if you were not sentenced right away, the court is expected to “freely and liberally” grant the motion. Most courts are understanding on this subject. If you were sentenced on the spot it will be more difficult to withdraw the plea because the same rules that favor the withdrawal of a plea before sentencing disfavor it after. This does not mean that there is no hope in withdrawal of a no contest plea on a DUI, it is just a lot more effort and work on our behalf.