Maybe I’m feeling overly suspicious tonight, but I’m tempted to suspect that someone has been told by their lawyer that there’s a big difference between pleading ‘guilty’ and pleading ‘no contest’ to their (Texas) DWI charge.
There’s not. If you weren’t involved in a collision, or something that could lead to a civil suit, there’s absolutely no difference to the defendant. Your lawyer has not worked out some ‘great deal’ by ‘convincing the prosecutor’ to ‘let you plead no contest instead of guilty’.
And frankly, if you had insurance, or weren’t at fault in the accident – that’s possible, even if you were hammered – there’s still no difference.
The only difference that counts is that a ‘no contest’ plea can’t be held against you in a civil case arising out of the criminal incident, while a ‘guilty’ plea can. If that’s a big deal to you, maybe it’s worth something. 99% of the time it won’t be.
And as long as I’m being suspicious, who else out there thinks the recent search phrase ‘preparing cops for an ALR hearing’ was done by a prosecutor? Late night search, and all I know is it was from a wireless broadband IP address, so I can’t be sure, but who else would Google such a thing?
What the heck… Never been a prosecutor, but I’m going to hand out some advice in that regard anyway:
Say, “Officer, thanks for showing up. The hearing’s about to start. Have you reviewed the documents? You remember the arrest? OK, great. You’ll get called as a witness in a few minutes.”
Pretty simple stuff. He’ll be sworn in under penalty of perjury. They taught him in the Police Academy to just tell the truth – well, didn’t they?
What other kind of ‘preparing’ could you (not a witness to the events in question) give to an officer anyway?
[OK, OK, I’m being something of a smart-alec. I know there are prosecutors that read this blog. Feel free to add comments on how to ‘ethically’ prepare a witness. You may do so anonymously, or leave your name. I’d be happy to hear from you.]