Thank you, D.
What you are talking about is called a "no contest" plea. That means guilty. If someone pleads "no contest," that means "I plead no contest to the charges and while not admitting guilt, will agree to be found guilty." So that is essentially the same thing as being found guilty or pleading guilty.
First of all, understand how this works. At this point, she has three options.Options
1) simply send in the fine
(automatic guilty plea), or plead guilty at first appearance and pay the fine; OR
2) plead not guilty and the matter will be reset to trial. If the matter is reset to trial, then one can normally request a jury trial, and retaining counsel is best. Of course, by retaining counsel, one ends up paying close to what one would with the ticket.
3) Informal negotiation - we will get to this in a moment.Prosecutor's Leverage
If this case gets to trial, the prosecutor is likely to call the officer who will make an appearance and explain what he feels happened. He may or may not bring his dashboard camera tape that can also show what happened, if there is one. Normally, the Judge (or Jury, if one has a jury trial) takes the word of an officer over the Defendant.Her Leverage
The prosecutor is normally very backed up. They are handling literally dozens of cases at once. Setting a matter for trial - jury trial, more so - is a serious issue since they have little time to prepare, file the proper motions, and generally make room for the trial to happen.Negotiation
Recall how I had mentioned negotiation as one of the options. Very often, individuals in her situation are given a "plea deal," if they have little/no traffic record. Individuals in her situation are very likely to be offered two possibilities:
1. DEFERMENT (which dismisses the charge if one simply are not charged/convicted of anything else in 6 months to a year, but, pay court costs, but, this may or may not be an option in her jurisdiction); or
2. TRAFFIC SCHOOL (although some jurisdictions do not have this as an option and it is up to the Judge); or
3. SOME OTHER AGREEMENT.
She can always ask for even a more favorable plea deal, including a "non-moving" violation, that would be less of a fine and not count as points. If the prosecutor agrees, then this is a good deal.
Now, at time of first hearing, the Prosecutor is likely to be faced with dozens of angry Defendants. Ergo, they may respond more favorably if she (1) calls and find out the prosecutor's number from the court, and then call the prosecutor and ask for a quick "meeting" to discuss the case wherein she can explain the mitigating factors and ask for a non-moving violation, or even for it to be simply dropped; or (2) plead not guilty first, and then approach them when they seem less busy in Court.
This is very likely to end up in a settled agreement.
Of course, if this does not work, her only other option is to indeed set it for trial and play her leverage. Doing so may have the prosecutor reexamine their offer to her.
But often, these things end up in an settlement.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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