Entering Your Plea
The state has the burden of proving its case against you. You have the right to hear the state's evidence and to require the prosecutor to prove his/her case. If the state does not, the law does not require you to testify or prove that you are not guilty.
Plea definitions are provided here for your reference:
- Guilty - You admit you committed the act(s) for which you were charged. You admit the act you committed is prohibited by law and you have no legal defense for your actions.
- Nolo Contendere / No Contest - You are not admitting or denying you committed the act(s) for which you were charged. This type of plea simply means you do not wish to contest the state's charge against you. You may be found guilty by the judge, but could still be eligible for deferred disposition or defensive driving.
- Not Guilty - A plea of "not guilty" means that you are informing the Court that you deny guilt or that you have a good defense for your case. When you enter a plea of Not Guilty to a charge, you must then request a Pre-trial hearing. This is a mandatory hearing in which you are visiting with the Prosecutor about the case. After the Pre-trial hearing has been attended, if an agreement is not reached with the Prosecutor, you are able to request a trial by Judge or a trial by jury.
You must speak on your own behalf unless an attorney represents you. In the State of Texas, no individual other than the defendant may enter a plea on behalf of another individual (except in cases where an attorney is retained.) This applies to spouses and all other family members as well. A defendant must enter a plea on his/her own behalf.