When a Jacksonville criminal defendant is charged with a crime, he or she can plea one of three ways. He or she may enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest (nolo contendere). A “not guilty” plea will cause the case to move forward, and in some cases, the case will go to trial. If the Jacksonville criminal defendant enters a plea of guilty or no contest, he or she will usually do so pursuant to a plea agreement with the Duval County State Attorney’s Office. If the Jacksonville criminal defendant and the Duval County State Attorney’s Office do not reach a plea deal, then the defendant may choose to plea guilty or no contest and go strait to a sentencing hearing before the judge.
It is important for the Jacksonville criminal defendant to discuss all the possible avenues that he or she may take in the case. He or she should understand the differences between entering a plea of guilty, not guilty, and no contest and the possible outcomes for each. Therefore, he or she should discuss the Jacksonville criminal case with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney.