Knoxville, TN asked in Traffic Tickets for Tennessee

Q: Should I pay and not go to court? Or go and plaid no contest and ask for driving school?

The officer pulled me for driving in a wrong way one street. I received a citation and there is a court date and a fine on it. It was a rainy day. Does pleading no contest can get me in trouble?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Ross Matuszak
Ross Matuszak
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Franklin, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Thank you for your question. Pleading "no contest" or "nolo contendre" has a very similar effect to a guilty plea in that you are not disputing any facts and are accepting punishment for a crime. By entering a plea of no contest, you are saying that you do not contest the facts of the case and are prepared to accept punishment, but are not admitting guilt. Any fines or punishment levied against you go into effect just as if you plead guilty.

Realistically, in your case it probably does not matter whether you enter a plea of guilty or no contest. People often plead no contest if they think that they may be liable for civil damages stemming from a criminal act. That way, you can adjudicate the criminal case without admitting guilt and damaging your position in any civil cases that may arise.

If you have a question about civil liability in connection with your case, I would recommend that you speak to a lawyer to discuss all the facts of your case before entering a plea. However, it seems that you just have a traffic ticket and it is very unlikely that a civil case would come from that.

Driving school can help your driving record after you receive a citation, and can help keep your insurance costs down. It is almost always a good idea to go to driving school if offered the chance. If you have specific questions regarding your case, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney.

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