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Pleas

​Pleas​

​​Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of Not Guilty, a trial is held. In all criminal trials, the State is required to prove the guilt of the defendant "beyond a reasonable doubt" of the offense charged in the complaint before a defendant can be found guilty by a judge or jury.

You are entitled to request evidence material to any matter involved in your case. Requests must be made at the Coppell Police Department before a guilty or no contest plea is entered or the fine is paid. Entering a guilty or no contest plea and payment of the fine waives your right to request evidence on your case.

Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. Please consider each plea carefully before making a decision. If you plead guilty or nolo contendere in open court, you should be prepared to pay the fine, costs and fees by cash, check, money order, or credit card.

1.  Plea of Guilty - You admit that the act is prohibited by law, that you committed the act charged, and that you have no defense for your act. Before entering your plea of guilty, however, you should understand the following:

  • The State has the burden of proving that you violated the law (you do not have to prove that you did not violate the law);
  • You have the right to hear the State's evidence and require the State to prove you violated the law; and
  • A plea of guilty may be used against you in a civil suit if there was a traffic accident (another party can say you were at fault or responsible for the accident if you plead guilty to the traffic charge).

2.  Plea of Nolo Contendere (no contest) - You do not contest the State's charge against you. You will almost certainly be found guilty, unless you are eligible and successfully complete a court ordered deferred disposition or a driver's safety course. Also, a plea of nolo contendere cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages.

3.  Plea of Not Guilty - You deny guilt or you have a defense in your case, and the State must prove what it has charged against you. If you plead not guilty, you may or may not hire an attorney to represent you. You are entitled to a jury trial unless you waive that right. If you waive a trial by jury, the judge will hear your case. 

If you are not a citizen of the United States of America, a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for the offense charged may result in deportation, the exclusion from admission to this country, or the denial of naturalization under federal law. 

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