Nolo Contendere Plea Frequently Asked Questions
By: William C. Head, Atlanta DUI Lawyer
9 key questions about a nolo contendere plea to drunk driving or drugged driving charges
- Does a NOLO plea prevent my license from being suspended? No. That was part of the 1997 changes to GA DUI laws.
- Will I receive lower fines and fewer penalties, like community service? No. The guilty and nolo penalties are the same.
- Since DUI is a traffic offense, does a no contest plea to DUI keep the drunk driving conviction off my GCIC and NCIC criminal records? No. The DUI will show on your criminal history, both federal and state.
- Does a nolo contendere plea act like a diversion, or a withholding of judgement, as in some states? No. Georgia does not have statutory authority for probation before judgement, diversion, or first offender treatment.
- In a DUI accident case, does a nolo contendere plea totally shield me from being sued, or mitigate the amount of possible civil damages against me? No and no. You can be sued, and any underlying “evidence” that you were impaired CAN be seen by the jury hearing the case, but your “nolo” plea cannot be introduced, as an admission against interest. However, in the civil case, special instructions are usually given by the judge whereby the trial judge has the jury first determine who is civilly liable, and in what percentage of liability (for the cause of the crash). Then, however, if a punitive damage judgement is going to be considered, the court will allow the nolo disposition to be known by the jury, in assessing punitive damages.
- Does a nolo plea to drunken driving come off my record in 5 or 7 years? No. All DUI convictions, or pleas of nolo contendere are counted as a FINAL disposition, and cannot receive record restriction or expungement–EVER! The DUI stays on your criminal history for life, whether entered as a guilty, a nolo contendere plea or a jury verdict.
- If I am charged with other serious driving violations, such as hit and run or driving while suspended, does a nolo plea to DUI assist me in any way? POSSIBLY. A nolo plea to one charge may help you get your license reinstated sooner. Ask your DUI lawyer.
- By entering a nolo contendere to DUI in the criminal case, does this clear up my administrative license supervision for an implied consent “refusal”? NO. This is an error made hundreds of times each year as marginally trained attorneys delve into DUI laws in Georgia, and totally miss the fact that resolving the criminal case without first negotiating a withdrawal of the ALS supervision can result in a total loss of driving privileges for 1 year. The officer cannot “help you out” by asking Georgia DDS to lift that “hard suspension” against your Georgia driver’s license. It will stay suspended for the full year.
- Can a nolo contendere plea to a DUI-drugs charge prevent the 6-month suspension applicable to drugged driving DUI cases? No. A no contest plea does nothing to benefit you on the total loss of driving privileges for 6 months.
Call 41-year veteran Atlanta DUI attorney Bubba Head today and get honest answers to all your questions. Tell us everything that happened and everything you remember about your DUI arrest. The sooner you call us, the better chance we have to win your DUI case and get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Remember, you only have 30 DAYS to file a license suspension appeal or apply for an ignition interlock device, or your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year! Talk to Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager now. We are available 24 hours a day, weekends, and all major holidays. (404) 567-5515