Pleading Nolo Contendere to a Speeding Ticket
Should you plead nolo contendere to your speeding ticket? This is a question that I am asked endlessly by my traffic ticket clients. They call and ask, “Why don’t I just plead nolo to my speeding ticket?”
People think pleading nolo contendere to a speeding ticket is like shooting a werewolf with a silver bullet or stabbing a vampire through the heart with a stake. Unfortunately, pleading nolo contendere to a speeding ticket is no magic solution.
By the way, pleading nolo contendere and no contest are the same thing. Nolo contendere is latin, and the English translation is no contest. They are exactly the same thing.
The answer to this question is a big, resounding, NO. As a traffic ticket lawyer, I think there are very few cases where you should plead nolo contendere to a speeding ticket. Here’s why.
A Nolo Contendere Plea to a Speeding Ticket is Still Reported to Your Driving Record
Contrary to popular belief, a nolo contendere plea will NOT keep the speeding ticket from being reported to your driving record. If you plead nolo contendere to your speeding ticket, the speeding ticket will still be reported to your driving record.
Your car insurance company will still be able to see the speeding ticket. When they run your driving record before deciding whether to raise your car insurance rates, they will be able to see that you pled nolo contendere to a speeding ticket AND the speed you were traveling!
Many people seem to think that pleading nolo contendere to your speeding ticket will stop your car insurance company from finding out about the speeding ticket. The sad truth is that a nolo plea doesn’t prevent your car insurance company from discovering the speeding ticket.
Car Insurance Companies Do Not Care If You Plead Nolo To A Speeding Ticket Or Guilty To A Speeding Ticket
Once I give a potential client this information, the next question is inevitably “Well, the car insurance company can’t raise my rates since I pled nolo, right?” Wrong. Your car insurance company DOES NOT CARE that you pled nolo contendere to your speeding ticket.
To a car insurance company, a nolo contendere plea to a speeding ticket is the same as a guilty plea. Your car insurance company will simply look at the speeding ticket, note the speed, and correspondingly raise your car insurance rates for anywhere from three to seven years. Pleading nolo contendere to a speeding ticket can end up costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your car insurance rates.
I know, dear reader, that you are thinking, “But I’m not pleading guilty! I’m pleading no contest! I’m not admitting guilt!” Sorry, but your car insurance company does not care. There is no law that says that car insurance companies cannot raise your car insurance rates if you plead nolo contendere to a speeding ticket.
Benefits of Pleading No Contest to a Speeding Ticket
There’s got to be some benefit to pleading nolo contendere to speeding ticket, right? You are correct, there is some benefit to pleading no contest to your speeding ticket.
Quite simply, a nolo contendere plea to a speeding ticket keeps the points off of your record. Points are used by the Department of Driver Services to determine if your license should be suspended. That’s it. Points do not determine whether your car insurance company raises your car insurance rates if your get a citation for speeding. Most of the time, your speeding ticket is not going to result in enough points that it will suspend your license unless you have a a pretty bad driving record.
In the opinion of this traffic ticket lawyer, the benefit to pleading no contest to a speeding citation is very limited and you are usually better off keeping that no contest plea in your back pocket rather than burning it on a speeding ticket. Remember, you only get to plead nolo contendere once every five years in Georgia.
When is it a good time to use that nolo contendere plea? Well, that’s another post for another day…