When can I plead nolo contendere to DUI charges?

Georgia residents of any age are bound to make mistakes in many aspects of life and driving errors is one that arises frequently. For people who are accused of driving under the influence, a conviction can upend their lives in many ways. While it is never a wise decision to get behind the wheel under the influence and there is a chance that the person was not guilty, it is important to think about alternatives when addressing the case to achieve a desirable result and get it behind them.

The law allows a plea of nolo contendere to a DUI charge under certain circumstances. It means that the person is not contesting the allegations, but does not admit guilt. Knowing whether to accept such an offer is key and requires legal help. When charged with DUI, the judge has the discretion to accept a nolo contendere plea. If there was no previous DUI conviction within the past five years, there can be a nolo contendere. The person will be required to take part in 40 hours of community service unless they had a blood-alcohol concentration of less than 0.08 in which case it will be 20 hours. There are, however, situations where this plea will not be accepted unless certain conditions are met.

One condition is that the court received a verified petition that requests acceptance of the plea with the details of the case available so the judge can decide that accepting it will be in the best interest of justice. Another condition is that the judge assessed the person's driving records available from the Department of Driver Services. The judge can give the reasons for allowing a nolo contendere. The record will be sent to the Department of Driver Services within 10 days. There cannot be a nolo contendere plea if the driver had a BAC of greater than 0.15 within three hours of being in control of a vehicle or driving it.

A DUI charge can always have severe consequences including jail time, fines, the loss of driving privileges, raised insurance rates and a negative perception when seeking a job and trying to get into a school. A plea of nolo contendere is a reasonable option if it is available based on the situation. Calling a law firm that has experience in DUI cases can be beneficial when gauging the possible alternatives to deal with a DUI and avoid the worst potential penalties.

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