Generally speaking, simple traffic violations in Columbus result in a traffic ticket. These violations are considered simple infractions. That being said, if the Columbus traffic offense is a more serious one, it can lead to misdemeanor or even felony charges. When that happens, it may be classified as a criminal offense, and be more complicated. For individuals who are charged with a misdemeanor traffic offense in Columbus, Georgia, a nolo contendere plea can be an effective tool. If used properly, a nolo contendere plea can allow the accused to avoid receiving points on their Georgia driver’s license. Often referred to as a no contest plea, a nolo contendere plea is when an accused decides not to fight the charge and, instead, simply accepts the punishment.
Important Facts about Nolo Contendere Pleas
It is important to know that a person has the choice to plea nolo contendere only once every five years. Moreover, even if the accused has the option to plea nolo contendere, it is at the discretion of a Georgia judge whether or not to accept the plea. If an accused has already pled nolo contendere in the past five years and does so again, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (GDDS) will consider the second nolo contendere plea to be a guilty plea. The result is that points will be assessed against the individual’s Georgia driver’s license.
Of note, a nolo contendere plea will be reported to the GDDS. While a nolo contendere plea allows an accused to avoid points against their Georgia driver’s license, it does not necessarily avoid the consequence of your automobile insurance company raising your premiums. This is because a nolo contendere plea will show up on your motor vehicle report (MVR).
Benefits and Disadvantages of a Nolo Contendere Plea
Nolo contendere pleas can be properly used in several situations in Columbus, Georgia. There are times, however, where a nolo contendere plea is not the best option. Some examples of when a nolo contendere plea is helpful to an accused include if the charge is driving with no insurance or a suspended license, as well as hit and run cases. On the other hand, nolo contendere pleas are not helpful when the violation was:
- A minor traffic offense and the accused can go to defensive driving school in exchange for a dismissal;
- A charge for shoplifting, as first-time offenders can typically attend a diversion program and the case will be dismissed after completion;
- A traffic offense that will not be reported on the individual’s MVR; or
- A Georgia Super Speeder case.
Legal Help in Columbus
While nolo contendere pleas can be very useful in the right situation in Columbus, Georgia, you need to be sure of when to use it. This is because this defense is only available once every five years. If you or someone you know has questions about criminal charges you are facing in Columbus, or want to better understand nolo contendere pleas and their effects, contact the skilled Columbus, Ga criminal defense attorneys at Moffitt Law, LLC today.
Tyler Moffitt is a Family Law and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices Carrollton, LaGrange, and Columbus, GA. He graduated from John Marshall Law School, and has been practicing for several years now. Tyler Moffitt takes great honor in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.