What Are my Plea Options in Texas Court?

After being brought to court, the most important decision you have to make is what plea you will make. In Texas, you have the options of guilty, not guilty, and no contest. Most people are familiar with guilty or not guilty, but the plea of no contest provides an important option that could save you from a civil suit in the future.

Not Guilty

If you plea not guilty, a trial will be held to determine your culpability of the crime. You will choose between a trial by jury or a trial by judge, and whether you would like an attorney to represent you or if you will represent yourself. It is always recommended to hire an attorney, as navigating the criminal justice system is a complicated process, in which a misstep could result in criminal charges. Keep in mind that should you decide to plea not guilty, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which means that any reasonable and unbiased person would agree that you are guilty. The prosecution will attempt to use their collected evidence to prove to the judge or jury that you are guilty to an extent that cannot be reasonably denied.


A plea of guilty will not enter into a trial. You accept that you committed the crime, and will be convicted of whatever charge you’re facing. This may create liability for you in the future, as submitting a plea of guilty means that you officially and legally committed the crime, which allows for individuals affected by your crime to create civil suits against you. They will now be able to cite your guilty plea in this civil case, which makes you unable to argue that you did not commit the crime in the civil suit.

No Contest

The plea of no contest is similar to a guilty plea, except you are not formally admitting guilt. You are simply not contesting the court, which means you’ll be found guilty, but never legally admitted guilt. This means that you’ll be found guilty of the charges you face, but because you never admitted guilt, it may not be cited as admission to the crime in a future civil suit. The no contest plea provides protection against liability in this sense, but doesn’t avoid the conviction of your current criminal case.

What kind of plea you should choose is heavily dependent on the context of your specific case. Our firm is focused on providing you with the right knowledge and strategy necessary to get the results you want from your criminal defense case. Don’t wait until you’re in the courtroom – Call us at (214) 833-9414 or email contact@rosscrimlaw.com.

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Law Office of Kevin B. Ross, P.C.

Texas criminal defense attorneys Kevin B. Ross and Kristen Beckman bring a team approach to the Law Office of Kevin B. Ross, P.C., a Dallas criminal defense law firm that provides PROFESSIONAL, PERSONAL, and PROVEN representation to people in Texas who are accused of state and federal criminal offenses. We believe everyone deserves the strongest and most effective defense possible. The firm represents clients across Texas who are charged with crimes ranging from federal white-collar crimes to state drug charges, DWIs to murder, and everything in between.

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