Can I still plea no contest if I blew above the legal limit? 20 Answers as of August 06, 2011

I blew just above a 0.08 and I want to know if I can still plea no contest in court. What are my rights in this case? Should I just forget that and plea guilty?

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Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
In a misdemeanor case, plead no contest instead of guilty. It has the same legal effect in the criminal context (it means guilty), but it can't be used against you as an admission in a civil case. You should not take any plea until you have spoken to a lawyer. It may be that you have defenses and that you can win the case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/6/2011
The English Law Firm
The English Law Firm | Robert English
No contest is a legal plea in court. In most cases it is no different than a guilty plea as the court will find you guilty. You do have the right to plead "not guilty" and have your matter set for trial. I would recommend hiring an attorney if you wish to fight your case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/5/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Without knowing the facts I cannot tell you what to plea. There are defenses to a DUI even when the breath test is over 0.08. If I had all the facts I could give a better answer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
Normally, the judge will accept a No Contest Plea at any time. The other side of the coin is that it does you little good. It has the same effect as a Guilty Plea and is usually done for psychological purposes rather than for practical ones.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Law Offices of Phil Hache
Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
Most courts will allow you to enter a No Contest plea, which they will treat as if you plead guilty, but may have benefits if there is any civil actions based on the same circumstances that you are convicted on. For example, if you were in a car accident at the time you were arrested for a DUI, it may be beneficial to plea no contest as opposed to guilty. That being said, if you blew just above a .08, then a DUI attorney may have a good shot at getting the DUI charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense based on persuasive negotiations with the prosecutors. I would recommend speaking to an attorney in more detail about your case. Feel free to contact me at 818-336-1384 or through 1duilawyer.com if you would like to speak with me about your case in more detail. There is no charge for the initial consultation. Whatever you decide, good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    No, an attorney would likely be able to get the charge reduced at that level BAC.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Lowenstein Law Office
    Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
    It depends on several factors.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Pleading no contest is the same as pleading guilty. And, if everyone who blew over the limit just plead guilty, I would have had to file for unemployment a long long time ago.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Srai Law Office
    Srai Law Office | Gurjit Singh Srai, Esq.
    You are confused about several terms. First, you will be able plea no contest or guilty to a criminal charge. A no contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea; however, it cannot be used against you in a civil case. Second, if you blew a .08 it's a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable DUI attorney. In your situation a DUI attorney may be able to get the charges reduced after looking over the facts in the case to ensure that proper procedure was followed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
    You can plead "No Contest" to the charge, but be sure you understand the slight distinction between a "No Contest" and "Guilty" plea. The distinction is with a "No Contest" plea the plea cannot be used against you in a civil suit against you (you being sued for money for injuring someone). With a guilty plea it can. So if you are not being sued or don't have that possibility associated with your case both pleas - for all intents and purposes - are identical.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas | Thomas Ogas
    Talk to a lawyer first before you plead either guilty or no contest. You may have a defense or at least an argument to get a lesser punishment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Grasso Law Group
    Grasso Law Group | Charles Grasso, Esq.
    The only effective difference between pleading no contest (nolo contendere) and guilty in a criminal case has to do with whether or not the pleading can be used against you as an admission of guilt in a possible future civil suit. Both are effectively a guilty plea in the criminal case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    You should call some local attorneys and have them explain your rights. Blowing above the limit doesn't automatically mean the officer lawfully arrested you. There are other consideration you should take before taking a guilty or no contest plea.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    A no contest plea IS A GUILTY PLEA!!!!! The only difference between a no contest plea and a guilty plea is that it can not be used against you in a civil case. So unless you hit another car, person, or property there is no need for a no contest plea. A no contest plea will just make you feel better than not pleading guilty but it is a GUILTY plea. What you want to do is hire an attorney to defend your case. Plead NOT GUILTY in court and get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    Pleading no contest is identical to pleading guilty other than the plea cannot be used against you if you were in an accident due to the DUI. IF your blood alcohol was barely over the legal limit you definitely should NOT plead guilty without sitting down with an experienced DUI lawyer. There are many serious ramifications to pleading guilty or no contest to a DUI including loss of your driving privilege, cancellation of your car insurance, jail time, alcohol school, high fine, probation. Doesn't it sound like a good idea to get solid legal advise before giving up your legal rights and pleading guilty or no contest.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Some courts will not let you plea 'no contest'. You should plea not guilty and hire an attorney especially if you're close to the legal limit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    You can always plead no contest in court for a dui. However, you may want to consult an attorney before you plea so that you know the consequences and are able to go over any possible defenses.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Do you mean plead not guilty? A "no contest" plea has the exact same consequence as a guilty plea. It just can't be used against you as an admission of liability in a civil case. I think you're asking if you can fight a case if you're over 0.08% by starting with a not guilty plea, right? If that's the case, then yes. Absolutely. There is much more than just the blood alcohol level in a DUI case. You may have factual or legal defenses. Was the stop valid? Did the officers do their investigation properly? Did they administer the field sobriety tests correctly? Did they interpret them correctly? Was the blood alcohol test done properly? Was the machine used in the testing (breath or blood) accurate? Was it maintained and calibrated like it should be? So yes - start with a not guilty plea and look into things before you seal your fate and convict yourself. If you hire a lawyer, they can go to court on your behalf and start the process. Don't forget about the 10 day window from the date of your arrest to contact the DMV to request a hearing. If you don't, they'll automatically suspend your license. Your attorney will know how to handle that as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    no contest plea has nothing to do with BA level. It is the same as pleading guilty. It is only necessary where there was an accident on which you face a civil suit for damages, where a guilty plea could be used as proof against you. Of course you can fight the charges. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence, facts and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If you can't afford private counsel, you can apply for the Public Defender. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be. Keep in mind a little free advice: When arrested for DUI, whether alcohol or drugs, then upon release from jail or booking the defendant is given documents that include a notice that you have only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of an automatic one-year suspension of your license imposed by DMV. That is separate and runs consecutively with any suspension that may be imposed by the court. Contact DMV and do so, timely, then appear at your scheduled DMV appeal hearing and present any supporting evidence and testimony. If you don't know how to do these things, then hire an attorney that does.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Whoa. No contest and guilty are both convictions. They are exactly the same except no-contest makes it harder for an injured party to sue you. If you are so close to the legal limit, get an attorney and you might have a good chance of getting the charges reduced.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
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