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A no contest plea is the same as a guilty plea. While a first offense is punishable by up to a $300 fine and/or up to 30 hours of community service, a guilty plea also would leave you with a record. Additionally, the judge will report the conviction to the Department of Motor Vehicles who will suspended your license for up to 2 years or until you turn 21.
This type of charge is hard to defend because usually a police officer has witnessed you in possession of the alcohol.
If you intend to just show up and plea, ask the court if they will suspend your sentence (also known as a deferred sentence). Deferred adjudication is basically probation - you still can get the fine and probation, but if you complete the terms successfully, you'll later be able to have your record of the case sealed, so that when a background check is done, it won't show up.
I would strongly encourage you though to talk to a local criminal lawyer before your court date. Many do not charge for a consultation. I obviously don't know all the facts and circumstances, and those should be reviewed to determine if you have any defenses or what the best course of action would be. Even if the best course of action is to plea, a lawyer could negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to minimize the penalties, perhaps even get the license suspension waived.
If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to ask!
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