Earlier this month, First Coast News meteorologist, Tim Deegan, was stopped by police when he allegedly ran a stop sign. According to a report by the local NBC affiliate, upon stopping Deegan, the officer on the scene conducted a breath alcohol test at some point and discovered that Deegan was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Last week, Deegan entered a “no contest” plea with the court. As a result, Deegan will not go to trail, and will be on probation for one year. In addition, he will have his driver’s license suspended for six months, will be required to complete 50 hours of community service, and will also be required to complete “DUI school.” In addition, Deegann must pay court costs of nearly $1,100.
“No Contest” pleas in Florida Criminal Courts
In the Florida criminal justice system, a no contest plea is not quite a guilty plea but has a similar effect. In essence, a defendant who enters a no contest plea is telling the court “while I am not admitting to committing the offense, I admit that the State has enough evidence to prove that I committed the offense.” The distinction, while slight, is important in a number of ways. To find out more on the distinctions between guilty and no contest pleas, contact an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer.
There are several benefits to entering a no contest plea, depending on the circumstances of the particular defendant. One benefit is that the defendant will not need to go through the cost and potential embarrassment of having a public trial. For the meteorologist in the example above, this may have been a consideration in his decision to enter a no contest plea.
Another potential benefit of entering a no contest plea is that the plea cannot be used against the defendant in future civil proceedings. This is not the case when a defendant enters a guilty plea. In those situations, a civil plaintiff can later submit into evidence the fact that the defendant admitted the conduct that gave rise to the charges in the criminal case.
No contest pleas generally must be accepted by the court. Depending on the jurisdiction, no contest pleas may not be allowed at all. What this means is that not every defendant will be able to plead no contest to the criminal charges that have been filed against them.
Have You Been Arrested for a Criminal Offense in Florida?
If you have been arrested for any criminal offense in Florida, you need to contact an experienced and dedicated Jacksonville criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Doing so may mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. With the assistance of an attorney, you will be in a better position to challenge the evidence against you, if that is what you choose to do. If the evidence against you is strong, an attorney can advise you further about the different pleas you can make and which may be best for you. The Forbess Law Firm has the dedication and courtroom experience you need to represent you against any criminal charge in the State of Florida. Contact the Forbess Law Firm online, or call 904-634-0900 today to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
See More Blog Posts:
Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston Will Not Face Sexual Assault Charges, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, December 5, 2013.
Convicted Murderer Possibly Suffers From New Lethal Injection Concoction, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 24, 2013.